With help from Brittlestar, Zellers announces Zeddy’s return

One of the burning questions surrounding Zellers’ resurrection as a store-in-store concept under the Hudson’s Bay Company umbrella was whether beloved brand mascot Zeddy would be back.

We (sort of) got our answer Tuesday, when the discount retailer released a five-and-a-half minute video of a mock press conference featuring popular internet personality Stewart Reynolds (aka Brittlestar), in which he announces Zeddy’s return—albeit in plush toy form (the “real” Zeddy does make a brief appearance at the end).

Until today, the last time Canadians had seen Zeddy in his Zellers guise was in a video created by John St. called “Zeddy in the Woods,” which saw the longtime mascot struggling to adapt to life in the wild after being shown the door by a cold-hearted company executive.

That video was notable for its use of dark humour, which stood in stark contrast to the cheerful ads that characterized Zeddy’s long reign as Zellers mascot from 1986 until the chain’s 2013 closure.

Zeddy would eventually find a forever home with what is now Campfire Circle, a charitable organization that provides a camp experience for seriously ill children. (Five dollars from each sale of the new $15 plush toy announced Tuesday will go to Campfire Circle.)

But while Zeddy was gone, he was never forgotten. When Zellers announced its return last year, the fate of the beloved mascot and its in-store restaurant were among the most common questions asked by consumers.

Reynolds, meanwhile, had found himself on the radar of Zellers’ marketing team after making a video celebrating its history—and failed takeover by Target—called “Moving Target.” The company first approached him about doing some work with the reconstituted Zellers brand last year, which led to a music video earlier this year called “Better Than I Remember (Zellers Is).”

“Stewart celebrates his Canadian-ness in a way that feels very aligned with Zellers personality,” said spokesperson Tiffany Bourre in an email to The Message on Tuesday. “And we saw his genuine love for the brand even before we started collaborating together. It was a natural fit.”

For the new content piece, which is running across Zellers and Reynolds’ social channels, Zellers asked him to create something in the style of his spoofpress conferences“—in which he often appears as an Ontario government representative while subtly lambasting the fumbling of key issues.

While Zellers established the parameters for the video, Reynolds was given free rein over the script, in which he appears as a representative of the “government of…Zellers,” announcing what he describes as the biggest announcement in Canada since the invention of poutine.

The rest of the video unfolds as a press conference, complete with kid reporters asking questions about Zeddy. It ends with a peek behind the curtain of Reynolds in discussion with the actual Zeddy (Reynold’s performance was also captured by a camera crew for the CTV news program W5, which is planning a segment on the internet creator).

Last month, Hudson’s Bay announced that it was expanding the Zellers brand into all of its locations across Canada, adding to the 24 existing store-in-store and 22 pop-up locations.

Bourre did not immediately respond to a question asking if the retailer plans to bring back Zeddy in future advertising campaigns, but the bear has at least one ardent supporter. “I hope they run with it,” said Reynolds. “There’s so much fun you can have with that character, because he’s just frozen in a state of happiness.”

Chris Powell