Sears Wants You to Stop Ignoring Malfunctioning Appliances Before They Break and You’re Screwed

Latest work from Havas Chicago

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You know your dishwasher has been leaking for weeks now or maybe that the spin cycle on your dryer isn't quite drying your clothes as well as it used to. You've noticed the decline of your appliances, but you're trying to hold onto your fleeting moments with your 14-year-old dishwasher. Then the thing actually breaks, and now you're left frantically running to the store to replace that broken product. Sounds fun, doesn't it?

According to Sears, 60 percent of home appliances are bought in duress, so the brand teamed up with Havas Chicago to reach out to those poor souls and teach them to really should think about buying new home appliances before they break forever.

"When an appliance reaches the end of its life cycle or breaks beyond repair—it's known as a duress purchase. That's an important point in the member journey, meaning people act quickly to replace their appliance," Steve Stafford, vice president of home appliances at Sears, said. "From our member data, we know that 70 to 80 percent of these duress purchases start with online research. We think this campaign will engage members online in a very targeted manner—especially the way we satirize that 'oh no' moment we've all experienced when we need appliance help."

Two spots, "The Final Countdown" and "Spinning in Confusion," launched in early September with three news spots from Havas rolling out online today. Each spot features an eerie, all-knowing narrator giving people fair warning that their products are on the verge of breaking. 

"I think everyone can agree, when a home appliance dies, it sucks. So we ran with that truth and positioned Sears as the go-to source for relief. Sears really is the iconic American brand that's been helping people overcome duress situations for decades—they're the experts," Jason Peterson, chief creative officer at Havas Chicago, said. 

While Sears takes a joking approach with each of the spots the ultimate goal is to show consumers a few of the warning signs they should pay attention to when an appliance is close to the end of its life. Like the fact that you should probably know what a water heater is or that your dinner has been undercooked in the oven for the past few weeks.


Title of Campaign: Duress

Client: Sears Home Appliances

AGENCY: Havas Chicago

Chief Creative Officer, N.A:   Jason Peterson

Group Creative Director: Carlos Fernandez, Pat Hanna

Associate Creative Director(s): Eric Kripas, Scott Rench

Co-Head of Production, N.A: Dave Evans

Senior Producer:  Jorge Arana

Sr. Business Affairs Manager: Bonnie Hamilton

Business Affairs Manager: Sylvia Sanchez

Managing Director:  Amy Merchant

Group Account Director:  Jeanne Wu

Account Supervisor: Taylor DuFour

Asst. Account Executive:  Mandy Pitera

Project Manager: Kristin Oberg

Havas Media Team: Renee Crawford, Lindsey Susick, Allie Murphy


Production Company: Sugar Film Production

Director: Chris Smith

Producer: Tony Miglini

Line Producer: Brandon Tapp

Photographer: Afshin Shahidi


Editorial Company: Cutters

Editor: Adam Parker

Assistant Editor: Dustin Kaufman

Producer: Craig Duncan

Post Producer: Heather Richardson

Colorist, company: Brian Higgins

VFX & Finish Company: Flavor

VFX Supervisor: Neal Cohen

Music Composer, Company: Another Country / APM Music


Chief Marketing Officer: (Home Appliances) Stanley Obioha

Senior Director of Marketing: Brian Jochum                                                                                          

@ktjrichards Katie Richards is a staff writer for Adweek.
Publish date: October 3, 2016 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT