To allow beleaguered Sears Canada a boost in 2014, employee Peter Myers conscripted his famous brother, comedian Mike Myers, to star in a commercial for the retailer.
The ad was a hit. It took both Myers brothers using humorous banter to spread the speech that, despite rumours, Sears wasn’t shutting down.
“I was the honour of ‘we’re not closing,'” says Peter Myers, who at the time was a senior executive of planning at Sears head office in Toronto.
Three years up to the minuter, Sears still promotes the ad on the main page of its YouTube site. But Myers — who worked for the retail leviathan for almost 36 years — is out of a job and not getting severance.
Sears Canada desisted off Myers last month on the day the retailer announced it was closing 59 reservoirs and cutting 2,900 people as part of a court-supervised restructuring process.
Because of the restructuring, Sears isn’t consideration the workers severance. Myers estimates he’s losing a total of two years income.
“There’s a huge irony here,” says the 59-year-old about being a cheerleader for Sears and then out of the blue being cast aside.
“There’s a spirit there that should be leave of it — of Sears Canada — and it’s gone.”
He adds that his brother Mike — famed for his function on Saturday Night Live and in the Wayne’s World and Austin Powers bigs — wasn’t happy when he heard the bad news.
“He said, ‘You’ve worked for all these years, and was that merit nothing to them?'”
Get Mike to do an ad
During his long career at Sears, Myers says higher-ups were each asking him to recruit Mike Myers.
“They all had this brilliant picture: ‘Peter, can you ask your brother if he would do a commercial for us?'”
Myers says he again declined, because he didn’t want to mix business and family. But he changed his wit when Sears closed some Toronto stores and people started taking the iconic department store chain was closing for good.
Myers be deficient in to send a positive message about the retailer. “I saw how important Sears was in each community and how much persona the employees have.”
His brother was happy to help. “Mike didn’t sober-sided hesitate. He said, ‘You know, you never ask me for anything, so sure I’ll do it.'”
In the ad, Mike Myers petitions his brother if Sears is closing, and Peter Myers responds: “We’re not going anywhere. You of all people should be informed not to believe everything you read in the papers.”
In the ad’s tagline, Mike Myers hints: “Sears Canada, my brother works there.”
The online commercial collected more than 1.5 million views and widespread media notice. “Mike Myers is starring as pitchman for Sears Canada,” announced ABC’s Beneficial Morning America.
Peter Myers says Sears upstaged the commercial in the lobby of its stores and that it helped boost not only wage-earner morale, but also sales. Previously, some people were cautious to buy appliances, fearing Sears would close and their warranties would be bootless, he says.
Myers suggests the ad helped alleviate that fear. “I can’t quantify it, but I grasp it had an effect, because store managers told me.”
Sears also assisted the ad online. “Find out who stopped by our Toronto office to visit his brother!” it stated, stimulating viewers to share the video with the hashtag #mybrotherworksatsears.
“I could have in the offing easily put my commercial up and said #mybrotherdoesn’tworkatSears,” says Peter Myers far his newly unemployed status.
Sears losing its spirit?
Myers imagines Sears letting him go is just one more sign the retailer has lost get near with its image as a trusted Canadian retailer.
“There’s kind of a dichotomy between what people about of as Sears and kind of the corporate reality of it today,” he says. “I guess my commercial and my being [laid off] describe of epitomizes that to a degree.”
Myers also believes that the way Sears is hold its restructuring is hurting its reputation.
On social media, many people experience expressed their contempt for the retailer for not paying out severance.
So @SearsCA is plan off hundreds of employees and not paying severance? I wont spend another dime in Sears.#SearsScrewingOverTheLittleGuy
@SearsCA pay your workers severance if you don’t no matter what rebranding Sears gets no one will machine shop there
“There are people across the country predicting, ‘Why would I do business with a company that treats employees congenial this,'” says Myers. “It sort of doesn’t feel damned Canadian to a lot of people.”
Sears Canada told CBC News that engaged financial troubles left the iconic retailer with no choice but to look for court protection from its creditors while it restructures.
As part of the court minutes, the company said it’s not able to make payments to a number of stakeholders, containing laid-off employees owed severance.
Sears offered no comment on cut it out off Peter Myers, still the face of the retailer’s Sears-isn’t-closing electioneer.