TJX–parent company of T.J. Maxx and Marshall's–has cleverly launched its first joint marketing campaign, per MediaPost's Marketing Daily article, TJX to Launch Joint Marketing for T.J. Maxx, Marshall's, Seek Shopping Interventions.

The advertising spots: fashionistas chase down errant friends and admonish them for paying full price on their latest clothing purchases. In true friend fashion, they chide their pals' errant ways and offer their assistance: "Are you ready to take the first step?" Thus, the term "shopping interventions."
All of this as the article states: "In an effort to convince recession-walloped women that they can afford to shop". This is clever in more ways than one. First, it shows women that they can buy the latest fashion brands and save a lot in the process. According to TJX claims in its new marketing push, they've saved consumers 1 billion since January.
Second, as a TJX spokesman succinctly pointed out in the article: "There are many shoppers who don't shop the stores because they don't understand the off-price concept. Given the economy, this is the perfect time to educate them on the concept of off-price and why it's the better way to shop. And what better way to learn than from friends who are in the know?"
Great strategy, in my view. Department store sales continue to deteriorate and there is a real "shopportunity" to borrow Marshall's coined word for consumers to buy smarter and TJX to benefit, by extension. It's wise for the retail group to push its underlying value more than ever now.
Why scream about discounting and slashing prices when you can tout designer labels, a constant flow of fresh, branded merchandise and everyday off-price bargains? How's that for value in a depleted economy? Consumer proposition: why would you pay full price when you don't have to?
And how about using a poor economy to further solidify TJX's retail brands? No better time than the present. This is a shrewd move. By running ads in major TV markets and launching a guerilla marketing effort in 9 key cities–New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Atlanta, San Francisco and Miami–TJX is positioning itself to pick up new customers and more volume.
As the article states: "As consumer demand continues to build–after all, the average consumer can go only so long before needing to freshen up her wardrobe somehow–some off-price retailers appear to be better positioned to gain sales". Exactly.
What do you think of TJX's new marketing campaign? Do you think it will be effective? If not, what do you think they should do instead?
Since almost every discount retailer screams about low, lower or the lowest pricing, what do you think they should do instead to promote their value?
Which discount or off-price retailers do you like and why? What is it about their marketing approach that makes you want to buy?
I'd love to hear from you.

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Ted Mininni is president and creative director of Design Force, a leading brand-design consultancy.

LinkedIn: Ted Mininni