Is it Christmas yet? It seems as though retailers have been running seasonal commercials forever, despite supply chain challenges, rising prices and the prospect of a seasonal rise in COVID-19 cases even before the news of the new Omicron variant broke.

Walmart spent $56 million placing holiday commercials on national television between Oct. 1 and Nov. 28, according to figures provided by iSpot.tv to RetailWire. Amazon.com spent more than $33 million during the same period. Target spent $20.8 million, followed by Macy’s ($17.7 million) and Kohl’s ($13 million), to round out the top five national TV advertisers through Cyber Monday.

The next five on iSpot’s list of retailers spending big on national advertising were Old Navy ($9.9 million), Etsy ($8.6 million), Lowe’s ($7.5 million), Home Depot ($7.1 million) and Duluth Trading ($6.8 million).

It’s not surprising to see so many direct competitors looking to match their ad spending levels to those of their primary rivals. It is with this understanding that we kick off the ninth year of the RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge with spots from Macy’s and Kohl’s. Each company is coming off of a positive third quarter report that included upwardly revised annual forecasts projecting strong holiday quarters with fewer discounts to nip away at profit margins.

Macy’s same-store sales during the third quarter increased 8.7 percent, an improvement over the 5.9 percent gain it posted in the second quarter. Earnings per share were well above what it did during the same quarter in 2019 and gross margins improved by around 100 basis points.

Kohl’s third quarter comps were up 14.7 percent with a record third quarter diluted earnings per share of $1.65. The recent addition of Sephora shops inside of Kohl’s stores has boosted sales at those locations in the mid single-digits, according to the retailer.

Macy’s commercial, the first for you to consider, is a story within a story, involving a dad, his daughter and a reindeer named Tiptoe.

Kohl’s ad presents an intergenerational message about family, the spirit of gift giving and the art of dancing.

(Editor’s note: If you would like to nominate entries for this year’s challenge — either domestic or international — please email the name of the retailer and a link to the spot to adchallenge@retailwire.com.)


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