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Nordstrom Continues Digital Marketing Blitz, Spotlighting Video In The Quirky YouPhoria Online Ad Campaign

“Just because you’re building a log cabin doesn’t mean you should dress like a crazed mountain hermit.”

Nordstrom Digital Ad
YouPhoria: Chainsaw

Many view digital marketing as either a cosmic mystery too overwhelming to fathom or a big, fat waste of time and/or resources.

Well, I’m guessing Nordstrom would beg to disagree. After focusing almost all of its resources on the digital sphere in the past few years (a whopping $36 million in advertising in 2012 alone), the upscale retail chain has tapped into the motherlode with its all-out online marketing blitz. By year end in 2012, Nordstrom boosted its online revenues by…

a whoppping 37 percent, passing the $1 billion annual sales threshold for the very first time.

Since then, Nordstrom has continued to wholeheartedly focus on building its online base, with stellar results. In fact, by July 2013, Nordstrom earned the #1 spot in a study by Luxury Lab (“L2”), a New York University think tank that compared the digital impact of 40 different department stores. The study assessed metrics such as website stats, digital and mobile marketing, and social media outreach — and bestowed Nordstrom with the title of Genius for its digital dominance.

The Sell: YOUPhoria — It’s More Attainable Than You Think
There’s just something about seeing an impeccably dressed man wielding a chainsaw that grabs your attention. The rolled up royal blue slacks, the oversized hipster glasses, the skinny tie, the camel-colored leather loafers (sans socks)! This is a guy who knows how to wield power tools without overlooking his manscaping responsibilities. Dreamy Sigh.

And that’s only one in a series of quirky online ads from Nordstrom, who teamed with SanFran ad agency Mekanism to create the spots to connect with modern hipsters and urbane professionals. Aspirational women are on tap as well, such as the haphazardly pulled together ingenue zooming along in a crochet minidress and gold gladiator sandals, the silver streamers on her Minibike handlebars flashing in the wind.

(The Right) Image Is Everything
When the heck did Nordstrom get kind of, you know, cool? In my recollection, minus the Brass Plum section, the upscale retailer was too rich for my blood. And as I walked by some departments screamed, “Buffy! You must check out this tennis sweater!”

As it turns out, these are precisely the Grey Poupon perceptions that the Seattle-based department store chain sought to shift to appeal to the young shopper demo between 25 and 35. Nordstrom certainly hasn’t forgotten its luxury lineage, with top-tier brands still a cornerstone of their inventory.

Rather the goal was to refresh the brand and introduce it anew to hip young professionals via cyberspace outposts such as Twitter, *** as well as run in-store. To attract this all-new target demographic, comprised of fashion, music, and pop culture connoisseurs, the company expanded the range of price points and secured strategic partnerships with style-setting brands like mod British retailer TopShop. The latter move also helps drive online customers into the brick-and-mortar stores by offering exclusive access to coveted brands.

Nordstrom also took the strategic step of purchasing a Daily Deal-style website,, in 2011. Such sites entice subscribers with magazine-pretty, “curated,” limited-time-only fashion collections, which can also provide a large retailer such as Nordstrom a convenient forum to offload surplus stock. But more importantly, much like drives scads of traffic to its parent company Amazon, HauteLook serves as a functional and pretty portal back to Nordstrom.

So, over a fairly short time, Nordstrom has not only incorporated digital marketing to its advantage, but basically kicked ass and took names while doing so. By recognizing the importance of comprehensive online outreach and maximizing the simple but powerful tool that video provides, the 113-year-old company has sprinted ahead of competitors to get on the collective cool kid radar. (Hey, kind of like those kickass Febreze iTunes radio ads!).

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