April Fool’s Surprise: Sears circa 1897


Did you see the Sears home page today?  It looked similar to other days. But, wait – what’s that peeking out beneath the ad for tires?



April Fool’s!




How did this become a part of the Sears’ Customer Experience?

To find out how this takeover was created, I sat down with some of the creative brains behind it all – Victor Pinto, Sharon Sprague and Patrick Lange. Of course, the first thing they told me was that there were so many more people involved and so many to thank. There was great support from all disciplines on the UX team and great support from Product Management, our Social and Promotions Team and our Online Business Unit leadership.

How did this idea come about?

In a weekly meeting, Robert Dietz (who you met in this interview) challenged the team to come up with new ideas – to do something different for SHC. What can we do that is buzz worthy? Remember the zombies? UX took the ball and ran with it. That’s what we were after. Someone in the room said, ” What about doing something for April’s Fools day?”

What was the process?

There was a group call to action. Everyone was invited. A number of ideas were tossed around. Teams were created and asked to bring back  brought some visuals.

What was the inspiration?

During the session, someone brought in a Sears catalog from 1897. That led Victor to ask Sharon to resurrect some work she had done previously. Sharon said, “You always start by what is the story we are telling. Our story goes back to the 1800s.”

What was the response from the business stakeholders?

Everyone was wildly enthusiastic about it.

What was your favorite part of the project?

Sharon: It was a copywriters’ dream. All the departments name had to be created and 1897 versions of the promotions that were running that day. You got to be very creative with the wording.

Patrick: Collaborating with everyone and creating something so drastically different than the day to day work

Victor: It woke me up. We felt like a team again. We got a lot of stuff done very quickly. Everyone pitched in.

Will we be seeing more of this in the future?

It could be repeated  – playing on the nostalgia. Think of all the rich history we have. The 40s, the 50s, etc. The Fans of the brand are speaking out on our Facebook page.

What is your favorite item from the 1897 catalog?

The Stop Drinking German Liquor Cure. Yup, it is right there in the catalog.

photo copy 2


Did you see it?  What other examples of good April Fool’s gags did you see?





Tags: , ,

2 Responses to “April Fool’s Surprise: Sears circa 1897”

  1. Victor
    April 2, 2014 at 8:16 am #

    Thanks for the write-up Karol! Always nice to spread the word. Also, great choice of interviewees. Particularly that talented and handsome ACD.


  2. Jen Stander
    April 2, 2014 at 3:24 pm #

    Nice! I really love the outcome of this project. Great job!

    There were so many great april fools this year. As expected Google’s efforts were fantastic. I also loved the origami book on tiger direct (which actually fooled me for a few moments) and the nerf nuke on think geek (http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/1ba4/)