Ever see Sliding Doors?
It’s this movie where Gwyneth Paltrow misses her train and kicks off an alternate storyline to her life. The other Gwyneth doesn’t miss the train, and for the rest of the movie these two Gwyneths carry out different destinies while narrowly missing each other.
This is kind of like that.
Created by BBDO New York, Macy’s “The Chase” introduces us to different women going about perfectly banal days—until they encounter chic mirror images of themselves, sending them on a musical pursuit.
There’s a low-key magic to the concept’s simplicity. One woman sees her other self dining alone in a restaurant, then starts singing Blondie’s “One Way or Another” in a way that seems almost arbitrary—until another sees her doppelgänger and it continues, right as the stringed instruments wind up the drama.
Each twin isn’t only better dressed; she’s also just better. She eats at nice restaurants, calls the shots in a creative job, zips away on motorcycles, glams up for girls night, and doesn’t miss the bus.
It’s a metaphor for the perfect adult we’re always pursuing. She’s powerful, autonomous and gives you pause when she breezes by, as ignorant of your existence as the Girl from Ipanema. Like these women, we dream her up at subpar times—while encumbered by groceries, running through the rain, or just generally feeling frumpy.
But there’s also something pernicious about “The Chase,” a rebuke modern advertising works hard to shake off, but can’t quite, because it’s true.
In the bluntest way possible, it peddles the facile, lowest-common-denominator idea that shopping will fix you. The ad winds down with the first woman finally catching up to her twin and discovering she is her, ostensibly because she’s finally updated her damn wardrobe.
“Find spring fashion,” Macy’s beckons. “Find the remarkable you.”
BBDO has done right by its client: Macy’s is a department store whose one job is selling a better version of you. But one of the hardest things about adulthood—usually discovered just after college, wide-eyed and waist-deep in credit card debt (a common repercussion of the trial-and-error process of “finding yourself”)—is that you can’t buy your way into that person.
In fact, you can’t even work toward her. Once you’ve got the dream job and the motorcycle license, there will still be still days you miss the bus and feel ugly in your clothes. There is always a better you just out of reach.
Sometimes, when you feel like you deserve it, you’ll cheat: You’ll buy a dress with shoes to match, slightly out of budget, convinced this is what will finally complete Remarkable You. For a day or two, you’ll have caught her.
Then the pursuit begins again. It’s for this reason that, while there’s something beautiful in the idea that we’re forever iterating toward perfection, it’s depressing to be so baldly told something we’ve learned time and again is a lie. It just isn’t that easy.
“The Chase” went live online and on TV on March 11. Macy’s also organized an “Instagram Live” hack on March 14, hosted by Cassandra Jones, Macy’s vp of fashion and digital strategy, and fashion blogger Wendy Nguyen of Wendy’s Lookbook.
The “hack” takes advantage of an Instagram feature that lets two users livestream simultaneously. Viewers could share items they wanted help styling, the better to draw nearer to those ideal selves.
Agency: BBDO New York
Title: The Chase
Chief Creative Officer, Worldwide: David Lubars
Chief Creative Officer, New York: Greg Hahn
Executive Creative Director: Danilo Boer
Executive Creative Director: Marcos Kotlhar
Associate Creative Director: Cesar Finamori
Associate Creative Director: Roberto Danino
Associate Creative Director: Joao Unzer
Associate Creative Director: Kathryn Kvas
Senior Project Manager: Noreen Masih
Executive Producer: Dan Blaney
Business Affairs Manager: Nancy Espinal
Director of Music: Rani Vaz
Group Planning Director: Lindsey Gonnella
Communications Planner: Julie Naidu
Senior Director: Corey Cirillo
Account Director: Lauren Munilla
Account Manager: Justin Perrelli
Account Executive: Clare Driggs
Assistant Account Executive: Maddy Bell
Director: Nicolai Fuglsig
Line Producer: Laurie Boccaccio
Executive Producer: Emma Wilcockson
Director of Photography: Greig Fraser
Assistant Director: Adam Somner
Production Designer: Jahmin Assa
Editor: Rich Orrick
Assistant Editor: Theo Mercado
Executive Producer: Erica Thompson
Post Production / VFX: Blacksmith
VFX Supervisor: Daniel Morris
2D Lead: Daniel Morris
2D Artist: Chris Memoli
2D Artist: Youngjae Lee
Rotoscoping: Trace VFX
Executive Producer: Charlotte Arnold
Producer: Alexa Mauro
Music: Sound Tree
Arranged and Produced by: Luis Almau, Peter Raeburn, Luke Fabia
Sound Tree Producer: Jay James
Vocal Coach: Kyra Selman
Final Mix: Sonic Union
Mixer: Steve Rosen
Sound Designer: Brian Emrich
Final Grade: Tom Poole @ Company 3