The rapper’s hit song Thrift Shop, which scrambled up the charts this year, was not the first hip-hop track to talk about shopping. But in a seemingly endless list of artists to name-drop swanky luxury brands, Macklemore has stood apart for lauding 99-cent resale fashion. And the thrift store industry has benefited.
“We’ve definitely seen an uptick in traffic – new shoppers coming into the store, especially younger shoppers,” said Sara Gaugl, director of marketing for Bellevue, Wash.-based Savers Inc., which owns the Value Village chain of second-hand stores. “People think shopping thrift is cool. Just the heightened awareness has been really exciting.”
Value Village has been capitalizing on that awareness this Halloween season – which is to the thrift industry what Christmas is to other retailers. The chain’s holiday commercial features the song’s chorus crudely rewritten to discuss costume possibilities. Among its lyrical offerings: “You could be a duck/ you could be a ref / you could be a duck that’s also a ref.”
The ad has been in heavy rotation on television and radio, but while it may sound like an unauthorized rip-off, it was actually made with the blessing of Macklemore’s team.
Savers Inc.’s official relationship with the rapper began last year, when Macklemore and his producer/collaborator Ryan Lewis used the Capitol Hill Value Village location in Seattle to film portions of the video for Thrift Shop.
At the time, he agreed to film a short video for Value Village giving his personal “thrift shop tips,” and discussing his favourite purchase from one of their stores (a teal blue scooter from the 1980s, which cost less than $10 and “completely changed my life.”) After winning at the Billboard Music Awards in May, Macklemore took the stage and thanked Goodwill and Value Village.
The company surveys its shoppers each year before Halloween, and this year, nearly 50 per cent “were inspired by the song, and believed that shopping thrift was cool, because of the song,” Ms. Gaugl said.
Because the company already had the connection, they reached out to the team to arrange to use the song. Ms. Gaugl would not discuss financial terms of the licensing arrangement. The company’s Seattle ad agency Wexley School for Girls produced the ad.
“Our goal was to create an ad campaign that highlighted the quirkiness and the silliness of the holiday,” Ms. Gaugl said. “As evidenced by the spot, we didn’t take ourselves too seriously.”