In this case, The Force is definitely with Kohl’s.
The marketing force, that is.
The Menomonee Falls-based retailer has been enjoying very large and very inexpensive exposure on social media, thanks to a Texas woman’s undisguised delight with a Chewbacca mask she bought at Kohl’s, and a quick response by the firm’s marketing team.
The feel-good, Facebook Live video posted last Thursday afternoon by Grand Prairie, Texas resident — and Kohl’s shopper — Candace Payne has been viewed more than 137 million times.
And a Kohl’s follow-up video showing the reactions of Payne and her kids as representatives of the retailer bearing more Star Wars goodies walked up to their home, Publishers Clearing House style, has garnered 30 million views.
Nor is it just Facebook exposure that Kohl’s is getting. There have been hundreds of news accounts of the Chewbacca Mom and her video, and Payne has appeared on Good Morning America and been interviewed by National Public Radio.
« Things like this don’t come along every day, » said Milwaukee ad man Dave Hanneken, executive creative director at the Jigsaw agency. « …Imagine what the extrapolated value on that is, the media value. … It’s millions of dollars, easily. Millions. »
For that, Kohl’s can chiefly thank the enthusiastic Payne, now known worldwide as the Chewbacca Mom.
« This mother, she’s just so real, and she’s very likable, » Hanneken said. « …She’s real, she’s honest, she’s likable, she’s a mom, and I think that also really appeals to the Kohl’s demographic. I mean, she is the Kohl’s demo right there. »
But the company didn’t just rest on the luck of the Wookie.
Within 24 hours of when Payne posted her video, Kohl’s marshaled a team to help keep the momentum rolling.
« We wanted to surprise Candace, because she surprised us, she surprised America, » said Nancy Carruth, senior vice president of marketing. « So we went to go see her, and we had a truck full of Star Wars products, and we had $2,500 in Kohl’s gift cards and also 10,000 Yes2You points within our loyalty program. »
The delivery of the swag by Jeff Chasteen, manager of a Kohl’s store in nearby Arlington, was recorded on video by a crew Kohl’s hired on short notice, and posted on Kohl’s Facebook page.
« For them to jump as quickly as they did and get over to her house, I was impressed with that, » Hanneken said.
From a marketing perspective, exposure like Kohl’s is getting is huge, Carruth said.
« What it means to us is just how we connected with the customer, » she said. « …From a social perspective, it’s all about that two-way conversation and to immediately communicate. »
Viewers wanting to fully share Payne’s Chewie-inspired joy, however, may have to wait. As of Monday, the mask, which emits a Wookie-like wail when you open its movable mouth, was sold out on Kohls.com. And on Target.com. And Walmart. And Toys R Us.
The Force is strong indeed.