Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fred Meyer: Where's the Holiday Spirit?

In a time where most of the Oregonians I meet were born a long way from Oregon I always appreciate meeting other native Portlanders. For one reason, really. So we can reminisce about local TV commercials from the 80s and 90s. When I meet another native PDXer I can finally bring up topics like Tom Peterson (and Gloria too).

We can discuss the range of Scott "if you don't come see me today" Thomason commercials and his untimely financial demise.

And often times you remember the commercial better than the business itself. I don't think I ever stepped into a Kienows or Organ Grinder, but I remember watching the ads. And what ever happened to that Izzy's Pizza jingle?

And then there's the trump card. The classic TV commercial I always bring up. It must have aired around 15 years ago because I remember singing it with my middle school friends. Fred Meyer's "Home for the Holidays" commercial featured a catchy song and a collection of heartwarming shots: folks driving in the snow, bringing wrapped gifts into a house, family gathering around the tree. I think there were a few verses in an extended version of the commercial, but the cheery refrain - as I recall it - went:

Home again for the holidays
My favorite time of year
Yes, it's so nice to come home

And then a folksy-sounding announcer added, "Welcome home, from Fred Meyer."

As cheesy as it sounds, this commercial will always hold a special place in my heart and that tune will forever be implanted in my mind. So about four years ago I started my quest to track down this commercial. Somehow it hadn't (and still hasn't) surfaced on YouTube so I sent an email to Fred Meyer customer service:
I really miss your old holiday commercials with the "Home again for the holidays" jingle? Any chance of bringing them back or at least of putting them online? I hope so.

A week later, Ann from the Marketing Dept wrote back:
Thank you for your nice comments about our Home for the Holidays commercials from years past. These are my most favorite commercials ever used by our company, and I'm with you! Hoping we use them again, or something similar. I loved the sentiment of the spots.

Have a good day, and thanks for sharing.

Fred Meyer Stores
Sales Promotion & Marketing
At least I found someone who shared my affection for the commercial and I was hopeful that it would surface eventually. But here we are, four years later, and there's still no sign of the ad. So in early November I sent another email asking if there was any way I could get a DVD or even just stop by and watch it at their offices. It took about a month to get a response this time:
Thank you for your interest in our “Home for the Holidays” television spot. Unfortunately, it’s unavailable for viewing. We do appreciate you taking the time to tell us that you and your friends remember that spot—I do too!

Again, thank you and sorry for the delayed response time.

VP of Marketing, Fred Meyer
Another brick wall. I emailed Ann-Marie back:
Thanks for getting back to me. I'm so bummed to hear that it's unavailable for viewing! Have you considered putting up a "retro commercial" page on your website or on youtube? I think it could prove to be quite popular locally and get some real traction on twitter/facebook/etc.

I hope you'll consider it.

I'm giving them free marketing advice! This ought to encourage them to take some action - right? Perhaps, but I'm not sure what the next step is. Hopefully by now you remember this commercial too or maybe you're so intrigued that you want to see it? If that's the case then you should send a comment to Fred Meyer customer service! Click here if you want to do that. Or maybe some of you have old VHS recordings that might have the commercial on it? Or maybe you know someone who works at Fred Meyer and can sneak a copy out of the basement?

I'm not going to say that I won't go to Fred Meyer till I see that ad, but I'll be somewhat grumpier every time I do go to Fred Meyer. So who's with me? Let's start a revolution!


Chris J said...

Izzy's is pizza plus a whole lot more!!

Oh and not exactly OR specific but, "It's Joe Albertson's Supermarket, but the meat department is mine!"

Rachel said...

Boaz! I so remember these! (I love Tom Peterson's definition of 'brunch'. And I hope they're not giving everybody flat tops.) I vaguely remember the Fred Meyer ad, but more the tune than any images. You know who will always stick with me til the day I die though, Tom Shane. Now YOU have a friend in the diamond business. The Shane Company. On the west corner of hwy 217 and scholls ferry rd. open monday thru friday til 8 saturday and sunday til 5.
So I guess they proved monotone works..when combined with endless repetition.

Boaz said...

See? There really is something magical about local commercials. And Joe Albertson and Tom Shane are definitely classics too. We should get all these local icons together in a room and see what happens...

Benjamin said...

Boaz I am so happy I stumbled across your page since I was almost convinced I had dreamt the whole thing. Every year around Christmas I inevitably think of the song and will ask anyone within earshot at the time if they remember the commercial and not ONCE have I received a affirmative response. Sweet vindication!