Saturday, January 15, 2011

Topical Bonus! A Tribute To Zellers....

While I strive for 2 postings per month, from time to time, there may be some additional postings based on relevant topics in the news. This is my first one in that context, and there will no doubt be more in the future.

It was announced this week, that Zellers, a major retailer in Canada for 80 years and the last of the Canadian retail brands with such a history, had its store leases sold to Target in the US for $1.8 billion. Within the next 2 to 3 years, plans are to convert most of the Zellers stores to Target stores and the remainder will be closed and properties sold off.

It's a sad day for Canadian retail. Now all the brands that people my age (in my early 40s) grew up with in Canada are largely gone. Eaton's, Woolco, and now Zellers leaves just The Bay, or the Hudson Bay Company as the one Canadian brand left. It's the oldest company in North America, dating back to the Hudson Bay Trading Co of the 1600's. I'm hoping they'll be around for a little more time.

Zellers Wiki History can be found HERE

Likewise, the Hudson Bay Company has a Wiki history also HERE

Here at the Jetsam, with me being the Curator Of Nostalgia Commericals I thought I'd dig into the vault (well, it's cardboard boxes, but vault sounds so much better!) and see what I can find. What I did find was material, mostly from the late 1980s and early 1990s, when they were pushing two main promotions - Club Z (pronounced the canadian way of "ZED" not "ZEE") and "The Lowest Price is the Law" positioning statement.

Club Z was a points system now very common today with retail, but was fairly unheard of in the late 80s to reward loyal customers to your brand. It started out ok, but as people tended to hoard their points for something they wanted, the company started pushing up the points you needed. It likely PO'd more then a few people.

"The Lowest Price Is The Law" was also an effective way to retain people to your brand. It really takes a commitment to retain that statement however, so eventually that statement disappeared, likely due to the arrival in canada of the rather aggressive pricing retailer Walmart when it bought the bankrupt Woolco chain in the mid 1990s.

I have also included a no doubt rare "disco" jingle package for Zellers from 1979 that is as dated sounding as you think and were likely hoping for :)

For the purpose of this exhibit as there is quite a bit of audio when we factor in all the versions from 7 tapes, I have compiled a 5 minute montage of the Zellers creative to stream and download here. For those who want everything, a 45 meg zip file with all the tape reel dubs and scans of the tape boxes is also available. It also includes the montage.


Scott S.

Zellers Audio Montage (5:00)


Complete Package (all the tape dubs and Tape Box Scans) (45 meg)



  1. Canadian Tire, Rona, Dollarama and many others are canadian retailers ...

  2. think Zellers gave up when Walmart came to Canada, its ashame they ran themselves into the ground because of this, I personally am not a big Walmart fan but will shop there more now since Zellers is no longer a good place to shop the prices are higher than other places, the staff are rude and the stores are messy.

  3. In fairness, we really don't know what the company tone or employee atmosphere that was leading up to this announcement. I've never had a problem at Zellers when I shopped there, and still have a fondness of buying 45s and other records and such when I was a kid in the 70s and 80s. Employees can certainly be disengaged depending on the work environment, so I'm more for giving people the benefit of the doubt.

    Lukvig, you're right about other Canadian brands. More recently Lowe's tried to buy out Rona, but apparently that didn't work out. I am thinking though of the traditional department store and the Canadian brands associated with it. They're pretty much all gone with some Zellers stores going to Target and the rest eventually closing or becoming Walmart's, which is happening in my area.