5 Take-aways from Kohl’s Marketing Success

If you are not one of the 135 million people who have seen this video, give yourself a little gift and watch (or re-watch) it now. It is 4 minutes of pure happiness and offers up a huge dose of free marketing success for Khol’s by one overjoyed shopper.

“Oh, I’m such a happy Chewbacca!” she cries out through her laughter.

This was truly an overnight sensation. Candace Payne posted this live Facebook video on a Thursday and Sunday night she was in New York City for a Monday morning interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”


Yet, what is most impressive to me, as a marketer and project manager, was Kohl’s swift response.

By Saturday, Kohl’s presented Chewbaca masks for the whole family, $2,500 in gift cards, 10,000 in Kohl’s reward points and a stack of other toys and goodies for the entire Payne clan.


Now, I work with marketing departments of large corporations all the time and Kohl’s actions are no small feat. While the video might make it look easy to swoop in and hand out gifts — to actually make this happen takes initiative, resources, dedication and flexibility.


Here are a few steps that went into making this act of customer appreciation a reality:

  • First Kohl’s had to recognize that there was an opportunity and be inspired to act on it.
  • They had to strike while the iron was still hot — the original video posted on a Thursday and Kohl’s responded on a Satruday. Quick!
  • Budget had to be approved. Creative work, gifts, gift cards, points and people-hours had to get the green light to get this done.
  • They needed the right people for the job. Kohl’s enlisted help from their marketing partners — in this case the digital agency, Huge.
  • Logistics had to be expertly managed. Kohl’s is headquartered in Wisconsin and these were delivered in Dallas. This meant planning all the details from finding Chewbaca masks in Texas to arranging the right corporate employee to speak on Kohl’s behalf and hiring a videographer.


The result was a well-timed, feel-good marketing piece that received over 34 million views of its own to date! Fantastic!


So, what can you learn and apply from Kohl’s marketing success?

  1. Empower employees and partners to recognize marketing opportunities. Embrace and encourage their suggestions with gusto. Then act on them.
  2. Be agile in your process. Have some flexibility in your schedule to make room for something unexpected (and potentially amazing). You can’t reproduce or create this level of authenticity in any advertising campaign, so be prepared to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.
  3. Recognize you can’t do everything on your own. Marketing departments are often stretched thin and short on time. Hire experts to help you manage and execute some of your marketing needs.
  4. Keep a short-list of expert resources. Have several trusted partners on hand, know their strengths and partner with the best for the job.
  5. Celebrate and share the wins. Don’t discount the successes (you earned them). Tweet, post, share on your social media platforms. People want to hear some good news.


Are you leveraging your biggest fans in your marketing?

Share your own success below. I would love to hear from you.

And if you found this helpful in any way, I sure would appreciate the share!

To your creative success!


Wendy Wood

Wendy Wood

Wendy is the creative force behind Wendy Wood Design. Marketing and creative teams hire Wendy to plan and execute spot-on creative for their complex, multi-deliverable projects, such as: branding systems work, trade show & event deliverables, annual report & catalog design. When she's not in her design office, she is out enjoying all the San Francisco Bay Area has to offer —hiking, running and exploring with her husband, two boys and two dogs. + Meet Wendy