Zellers' Festive Finale

Zellers, one of the country's oldest discount department stores, would be closing its doors after it was announced that American super-chain Target would enter the market, taking the majority of the retailer's leases.

A common theme in the online dialogue was that consumers and Zellers employees felt like they were at the mercy of big business, so John St.'s insight was to take something that was completely out of their control (a corporate takeover by a huge American retailer) and put it completely in their control.

The "Festive Finale" campaign launched with a video memo from the (fictional) executive managing director of Zellers. He announced that with Target coming in, Zellers' senior management was taking early retirement and leaving Zellers' Facebook fans in charge of the store's final holiday sale. The video drove viewers to the Zellers Facebook page, where two more employees were introduced - Carol, a very busy store manager, and Jason, a quirky cashier.

They invited users to weigh in on almost every aspect of the "Festive Finale" - from what items should be discounted and by how much, to the in-store music playlist, to what festive accessories real employees would wear to work.

In the first two months of the campaign, John St. built a Zellers Facebook fanbase from scratch to over 66,000 fans (this number is now over 140,000). The retailer also had its best fourth quarter in a decade.