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Martha Helping Macy’s Laugh Up Some Fall Sales

Macy’s Inc. may be suing Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, but that isn’t stopping the company from using the founder of its legal adversary in a new advertising campaign that begins the marketing build up to the holidays. The company also is introducing a new apparel line with a particular Facebook twist that may be another sign of things to come.

This month, Macy’s will take something of an advertising risk as it debuts fall brand-oriented television spots in sitcom-style. Of course, funny commercials can fall flat, but Macy’s seems convinced that What’s in Store?, what it calls a new retailality comedy, will fly with consumers. The campaign issued its first ad Monday. The commercials follow the “hilarious” circumstances that befall new Macy’s Herald Square store manager, Harold, as he collides with the retailer’s star designers and wacky situations that make the “World’s Largest Store” a haven for the fun and fashionable, the company stated.

What’s in Store? will unfold as a series of television spots ranging in length from 15 to 60 seconds. Many of the notables who work with Macy’s on its various brands will make guest appearances along the way including, in addition to Stewart, I.N.C. spokesmodel Camila Alves, Justin Bieber, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Macy’s Culinary Council chef Marcus Samuelsson, Carlos Santana, Taylor Swift and Donald Trump. Sitcom legend Florence Henderson makes a special guest appearance in the initial commercial.

The television campaign is supported by an active online component. Macy’s began building online buzz via a series of brief videos starring Bieber, Combs, Samuelsson, Santana and Swift it placed on various Macy’s social media platforms including YouTube. A dedicated mini site at will feature behind-the-scenes content with the cast and all of the episodes including “Sitcom,” a 60-second spot based on a television comedy’s opening credits.

“For more than 65 years, Macy’s has provided television viewers nationwide with unparalleled entertainment experiences,” said Martine Reardon, Macy’s chief marketing officer. “From the multiple Emmy-winning Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the No. 1 entertainment special on Independence Day, Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular, to appearances on ‘Project Runway,’ ‘Fashion Star’ and more, Macy’s has been at the forefront of television entertainment and pop culture conversation. With What’s in Store? we are taking the next step in bringing the magic of Macy’s closer to audiences everywhere as we collectively share in the remarkable and hilarious everyday situations that Harold and other store employees experience at the World’s Largest Store.”

Macy’s called What’s in Store? a next element in the development of its “Only One Star” brand strategy, which highlights the retailer’s ability to deliver the stars of fashion, food and home to customers everywhere. The campaign gives the company a chance to associate present promotion with its place in popular culture, which established initially by the classic film “Miracle on 34th Street.” And it offers the opportunity to highlight its recently refurbished flagship store.

The campaign also provides Macy’s with an opportunity to further the company’s alternative media strategy.

Another step in the alternative media evolution is the launch of Nicole Richie’s new apparel line, which Macy’s launched as a buying opportunity for Facebook friends. Beginning September 11 at midnight, Macy’s Facebook fans had exclusive access to purchase the Nicole Richie for Impulse collection, a day before other consumers. Enthusiastic customers looking to shop Nicole Richie for Impulse could like Macy’s at, then purchase the collection and share favorite looks with friends. Consumers could shop via Facebook even after the collection officially launched in select Macy’s stores and on on September 12.