The specialty retail department store known for its upscale merchandise and expensively eccentric Christmas Catalog offerings – including a $50,000 treehouse and $1.76 million space ride for six – is celebrating its 100th birthday on the video-sharing site for the masses.

Over six four-minute clips, former executive Lawrence Marcus discusses the history of the business his father helped establish in 1907, while fashion notables such as Giorgio Armani, Karl Lagerfeld, and Didier Grumbach inventively expound the virtues of a store that’s “more than an icon, more than a gem, more than a jewel,” and where “everything was celestial.” 

Over the top for sure. ###

At their best, the videos appeal to those information-hungry-for-anything-historical viewers that Tivo Unwrapped and A&E Biography. At their worst, the splashy animations and aggrandizing platitudes make the segments look like something you’d see on a visitors tour of Neiman Marcus’ Dallas, Texas headquarters. On average, they’re just lame. The self-promotion is too forced and too contrived. This is NOT how promotional web video should be done.

If YouTube wants to expand its advertising efforts and if Neiman Marcus wants to appeal to a YouTube set, the video-sharing site should’ve suggested that the department store put a little more cash in its production budget and produce a short web series with product placement and integrated advertising. Volvo sponsors ‘Mr. Robinson’s Driving School,’ Ford is behind ‘Where are the Joneses?‘ and American Eagle is working on ‘It’s a Mall World.’ These are all original series that have a distinct advertising feel, but can still come across as engaging entertainment.

How much better would’ve it have been if we got to see an afternoon in the life of an affluent girl from Long Island who took a jaunt to New York City and spent a few hours in Bergdorf’s earning daddy a few thousand frequent flyer miles? Or even an overworked office assistant in Texas finding some solace shopping in the friendly confines of a local Neiman Marcus? Or at least something with a story arc that tries to be more entertainment than advertising.

 

 

 

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