In April 2000, Sears and Levi’s announced a co-sponsorship of Christina Aguilera’s first headlining tour.  Aguilera, one of the top female singers in the world, had just been honored with the Grammy for Best New Artist.  Through the Sears and Levi’s Present Christina Aguilera in Concert tour, Sears and Levi’s captured the attention of teens across America.  The sponsorship provided Sears a fun and contemporary vehicle to reach fans and consumers, and Levi’s long-standing support of new and emerging artists made the sponsorship a natural fit. Sears partnership with Levi’s upped the cool quotient and further positioned Sears as a fun, youth-oriented retail outlet.


The greatest challenge posed by the sponsorship was developing national and local programs that reached teens in a way that married Sears and Levi’s image with the young, energetic image of Christina during the key back-to-school period.  The PR team researched teen views, trends and interests to design programs that appealed to them, while creating synergy between Sears, Levi’s and Christina.  In addition, the PR team determined the best way to reach this young audience¾through television, teen-specific magazines, Hispanic publications, newspapers and pop radio stations¾and concentrated media efforts to target these media.


The public relations program was designed to create widespread consumer awareness of Sears and Levi’s sponsorship of the tour through fun, interactive activities for fans and consumers, and through extensive national and local media coverage.  By reaching the target audience – teens – Sears aimed to enhance the company’s image as a contemporary and compelling place to shop, and to increase teen store traffic – most importantly among Levi’s displays – during the key back-to-school selling period. 


To keep Sears and Levi’s in the news prior to and throughout the tour, the PR team developed a two-tiered public relations program to support both national activities and local events in the 35 tour markets. In addition to working with the Sears and Levi’s advertising, event marketing and promotions groups to promote the integrated marketing campaign, the PR team developed national and local public relations-driven events to fully leverage and maximize awareness of the Sears and Levi’s Present Christina Aguilera in Concert tour.


Tour Launch: In April 2000, Sears, Levi’s and Christina announced the details of the sponsorship during a radio media tour in New York City.  The PR team also secured placements in USA Today and on the television entertainment program Access Hollywood. Sears and Levi’s PR then partnered with Access Hollywood to make the show the “official program” of Christina’s tour. Sears and Levi’s also scheduled a national 14-city satellite media tour in Miami for Christina to announce the sponsorship, tour dates and cities.  

Following the tour launch, the PR team continued to build excitement with the distribution of tour media kits.  The kits were distributed nationally to business, entertainment, teen, Hispanic and consumer media, and locally to business, entertainment and youth/teen reporters in the 35 U.S. tour cities.  Extensive follow-up ensured vast media coverage of both the consumer and business angles of the sponsorship.  Sears and Levi’s also teamed with teen magazines, including Teen and Seventeen, to create exclusive “Sears, Levi’s and Christina” sweepstakes for prizes including the chance to meet Christina backstage before a show.  The contests appeared on editorial pages beside cover stories with Christina.

Come On Over and Do Something” : Sears and Levi’s teamed up with Christina Aguilera and the national non-profit organization Do Something to award youth for outstanding commitment to community service through a program named after one of Christina’s No. 1 songs, “Come On Over.”  The PR team developed a campaign to announce the partnership and maximize media exposure for the program and local winners.  One teen volunteer from each of the tour markets was recognized and presented with the Sears and Levi’s Youth Empowerment Grant, which included a $500 grant, two tickets to the local show and the chance to meet and take a picture with Christina backstage.  Photos of each of the winners with Christina were electronically distributed to the winners’ daily papers for local coverage.  In addition to the winners in Christina’s 35 tour cities, 15 non-tour city winners were awarded a $500 Sears and Levi’s Youth Empowerment Grant.  Winners were featured on local morning news programs and enlisted by local newspapers to write by-lined articles about their special day with Christina.

Do Something Youth Action Guide: Sears and Levi’s teamed up with Christina and Do Something to create this online youth action guide. The Do Something Youth Action Guide answered the question, “What can I do to help my community?” by giving youth ideas, tips and connections to local organizations so they can improve the world around them.  The Do Something Youth Action Guide focused on issues of concern to the nation’s youth—violence at home and in schools, drug and alcohol abuse, alcoholism and racism.  The PR team secured national and local media coverage for the launch of the online guide and created national news and buzz around the program.  Sears/Levi’s/Christina Do Something postcards with the Youth Action Guide web address were distributed at concert vendor tables.

Public Service Announcements: During the tour announcement satellite media tour in April, Sears and Levi’s secured a 30-second radio public service announcement with Christina encouraging her fans to apply for a Sears and Levi’s Youth Empowerment Grant.  The PSA aired on 31 national and local pop music stations.

Tour Kick-Off: The PR team conducted a second satellite media tour with Christina and Do Something founder Andrew Shue to promote the awards program and the sponsorship.  The fully booked three-hour SMT was broadcast from the stage on the first concert date of the tour and resulted in more than 50 national and local placements for Sears and Levi’s.  With highlights from the SMT and footage from the first-night’s concert, the Sears and Levi’s PR team edited a video news release on-site that was distributed to national and local media in the 35 tour markets. Stations also stored the footage for use as local-angle B-roll when the Christina tour reached their market.

Christina Boutiques: Christina Boutiques were located in 650 Sears full-line stores through August.  They featured tour information and Christina CDs, T-shirts, back-to-school supplies and accessories.  In-store video spots highlighting Christina tour footage and interviews ran nationally in Sears stores August through October.

Sears Associate Private Performance: In August, Christina performed an exclusive concert for several thousand Sears employees at Sears headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.  The PR team maximized exposure for Sears and Levi’s for the Sears associate concert by securing E! News Daily and People Magazine for national exclusive coverage.  National and local broadcast and print media attendance of the event included the New York Times and local Chicago print media and television stations.

National Promotion: The Sears and Levi’s PR team provided support for the Sears and Levi’s Present Christina Aguilera In Concert tour national sweepstakes, focusing on the sweepstakes announcement and the promotion fulfillment.  To kick off the promotion, Sears announced the shopping spree sweepstakes through a national media campaign in July.  In October, one grand-prize winner received a $2,000 midnight Sears shopping spree with Christina, a trip for herself and four guests to Los Angeles and the chance to introduce Christina on stage before her Los Angeles concert. The PR team secured Access Hollywood’s exclusive on-site coverage and had an AP photographer present to take pictures of the fulfillment.  Immediately after the fulfillment, the PR team created a video highlights package that was distributed to national and local media in the winner’s hometown of Houston, Texas.  A photo of the winner with Christina was distributed nationally over AP wire and the photo along with a news release was distributed nationally over PR Newswire.  In addition, broadcast and print media in the winner’s hometown received the press release and photo of the winner with Christina.  Through aggressive media relations efforts, Sears and Levi’s generated national and local coverage of the shopping spree promotion announcement and fulfillment .


Flexibility and creativity allowed the Sears PR team to continue achieving goals throughout the course of the sponsorship in light of several obstacles.  Last year’s SAG/AFTRA strike prevented publicity surrounding the filming and launch of the advertising campaign, a key component of the PR plan.  However, the PR team shifted the focus to a “marketing campaign” launch, pushing the business angle and resulting in numerous national hits. Though Christina’s participation in the Sears and Levi’s PR program was limited by her schedule, Sears and Levi’s maximized the media and consumer exposure of her involvement through soundbites obtained during/for satellite media tours, video news releases and a public service announcement.


The public relations efforts surrounding the Sears and Levi’s Present Christina Aguilera in Concert tour generated the following results (no multipliers used):

  • In total, Sears and Levi’s PR team produced media coverage with an estimated advertising value of $1.75 million and nearly 180 million consumer impressions;  
  • Secured 550 broadcast placements for approximately 9 hours and 16 minutes of airtime; 
  • Secured 117 print and Internet placements; 
  • Radio PSA broadcast on 31 national and local stations for a total of 23 million impressions; 
  • Key trade publications covered the sponsorship story, including Advertising Age, Brandweek and Marketing to Kids; 
  • Consumer media coverage of the sponsorship and special PR events included MTV, VH1, MSNBC, E! News Daily, People, Seventeen, Teen, The New York Times, USA Today, and major dailies and broadcast affiliates in the 35 tour markets.
In a post-tour survey, teens were significantly more likely to shop at Sears and purchase Levi’s as a results of the Christina Aguilera tour sponsorship