The Bay is all about online shopping this holiday season

Who: The Bay, with FCB for strategy and creative, Steam Films for production (directed by Benjamin Weinstein), and Saints Editorial, Alter Ego, Pivot LA and Eggplant Music and Sound for post-production.

What: The holiday campaign for the iconic Canadian retail brand, once again starring Annie Murphy, the Emmy-winning star of Schitt’s Creek.

When & Where: The campaign launched Monday (Nov. 1) and is running  on TV and digital. The Bay’s famous holiday windows at the Queen St. store in Toronto will also be revealed on Nov. 5.

Why: Earlier this year, Hudson’s Bay made some structural changes to enhance its online business, and this campaign is all about online shopping this season. The retailer has made a number of changes and improvements to make it easier for consumers to shop (see below) and forego the old-school tradition of actually visiting a Bay store.

“We know that holiday shopping can be stressful, and we want Canadians to know just how easy and convenient shopping can be,” said Allison Litzinger, The Bay’s vice-president of marketing, brand, customer and loyalty, in a release. “We are de-stressing the holidays, with everything needed for the festive season in a one-stop-shop, so we can all spend more time celebrating the holidays with the people that matter most in our lives.”

How: The central message for this campaign is entirely about shopping online: It’s so simple and straightforward, it can be done from the comfort of your bed.

In the anchor spot, Murphy literally does just that. From her bed, she visits on a tablet, the walls of her bedroom open, and her bed glides into an online shopping experience. She smoothly moves through seemingly endless rows of gift options, tapping on her tablet to make her purchases while passing other shoppers in their beds.

“For this campaign, we wanted to lean into how easy it is to shop at from where we spend most of our time browsing these days—the comfort of our own beds,” said Jer McNama, executive creative director at FCB Toronto.

Murphy made her debut in The Bay advertising last Christmas, and has appeared in additional advertising since then.

“We’ve received overwhelmingly positive feedback on our partnership with Annie—she really resonates with our customers,” Litzinger told The Message. “Her Canadian roots, great style, sense of humour and relatable personality were a perfect fit for this campaign. She has been such a great partner that truly represents our brand platform —to Live a Colourful Life—and is helping us spread holiday cheer to Canadians for the second consecutive year.”

The digital enhancements: In August, Hudson’s Bay formally separated its brick-and-mortar stores business from its ecommerce business, with the former now operating as Hudson’s Bay and the digital business as The Bay—part of which includes The Bay Marketplace, which launched in March as a platform for third-party sellers.

“Hudson’s Bay is undoubtedly one of the most iconic retail brands in the world, and has proven itself incredibly nimble and responsive as consumer behaviour evolves,” said Iain Nairn, president and CEO of The Bay, in August. “The digital-first transformation of The Bay takes us to the next level, with significant focus on technology investment and innovation—including the creation of technology hubs in both Toronto and Seattle, increased fulfillment capabilities, expanded marketing and extended vendor partnerships for a highly-curated assortment.”

Also among The Bay’s specific digital-based shopping enhancements for this holiday season:

  • Marketplace now has more than 2,500 brands in an expanded range of categories, including sports, tech and pets;
  • A new bilingual app for Android and iOS;
  • Shoppers who do want to visit a store can scan the QR product code on items to have them shipped to their home;
  • A live-chat tool for online shoppers to speak with sales associates; and
  • Same-day and next-day delivery on “eligible” orders in Toronto and Vancouver.

David Brown