Marshalls Advertisting Proactiv Over The PA?

Have you ever heard a store advertising stuff they don’t sell over the PA? Reader Anne describes some weirdness she encountered at Marshalls:

I just returned from a trip to Marshalls where I was subjected to an ad for Proactiv over the PA system. It was really horrendous and must be addressed! The worst part is that I’m pretty sure they don’t even sell Proactiv at Marshalls, so it’s not like a blue light special informing us shoppers of a Proactive special in aisle 12.

Has research been done that shows Marshalls shoppers are acne prone? It was total bullshit and during the whole thing I wondered what life will be like when I no longer shop at Marshalls because I refuse to be advertised at when I’m wandering around a store spending money. I’m hoping a good expose will end the advertising and allow me to continue my life of off-price shopping at TJX stores. Please help!

That’s odd. Maybe it was the radio? We haven’t been in a Marshalls in a while; has anyone else caught them advertising stuff they don’t sell?



Edit Your Comment

  1. DrGirlfriend says:

    I’ve never heard any kind of advertising over the PA at any Marshall’s I’ve been in. Weird.

  2. darkened says:

    It was probably the radio

  3. Pylon83 says:

    If Marshall’s has come up with a way to generate more revenue without raising prices, good for them. Who cares if you have to listen to an advertisement or two while walking around the store? It’s not like you’re in some high-end boutique shopping for a $2000 suit. You’re in a discount store. If you don’t like it, don’t shop there. Would you prefer them to raise prices instead? Further, most of the time the overhead music is pretty quiet, so you can tune it out anyway. Stop complaining.

  4. louisb3 says:

    Maybe reader Anne has voices in her head?

  5. qwickone says:

    Personally, I have no objection to the in-store advertising like this, esp in Marshall’s where their stock changes a lot. However, if it’s product they don’t sell, that’s just plain annoying. In-store advertising should be strictly for products sold at that store (or MAYBE affiliated stores), IMO.

  6. SpiceMustFlow says:

    I once asked a manager at a record store what CD they were playing over the speakers, and was haughtily informed that it “wasn’t for sale” at the present time.

    “Why are you playing music that people can’t buy?” I asked.

    “Because our employees have very good taste in music,” he sniffed.

    So I bought my AfroCelt Sound Machine someplace else. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that this too-cool-for-school store is no longer in business.

  7. K-Bo says:

    I worked for Marshalls for 3 years, ending a little over a year ago. I never once heard an advertisement for a specific item. They have piped in radio, same in all the stores, and the only adds were always about “check out our shoe event”, or “check out or baby event” (we didn’t do sales, so they always called them events). That they would advertise Proactive is bizarre to me.

  8. canerican says:

    Rite advertising for Geico on their new soundtracks. This was introduced about 3 months and I haven’t heard anything bad from the customers. The soundtrack is supplied from the corporate office, so it just gets played, it is 90% music, and then a few ads for in-store products, there is an ad for Geico in there. Its not unpleasant, its just there.

  9. canerican says:

    *I meant Rite Aid, sorry

  10. I once worked at a 5-and-dime type store that was part of a chain that included hardware stores, and we used to have ads for things at the hardware store on the proprietary muzak system (but always saying, “Check out your neighborhood Hardware Store!”). Similarly, it had ads for our store, which were also piped to the hardware store.

    In our case the hardware store was three storefronts down in the same shopping center, but in many places there was just one or the other, not both. But still, advertising for a sister store’s products is a little different than just random-ass ads.

  11. fluiddruid says:

    I used to work for a company that did customer support for Proactiv. Proactiv is sold frequently via radio ads. Chances are, Marshall’s is not using a “music service” but instead is just tuning into local radio stations for their PA.

    Would you be angry if you heard a car commercial in the store? I think it’s pretty meaningless outrage, frankly.

  12. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    I was just at a Marshall’s in Syracuse, NY on Black Friday and heard this same malarkey!! My mom and I both looked at each other and she said “since when did they start selling Proactiv here?”.

    Glad to see we weren’t the only ones.

  13. scoosdad says:

    Well TJX has to pay for those credit card theft settlements somehow.

  14. kad9k says:

    I had the same experience recently at TJ Maxx, and it was definitely not the radio. I heard it about 3 or 4 times while I was in the store.

  15. mac-phisto says:


    “Why are you playing music that people can’t buy?” I asked.

    “Because our employees have very good taste in music,” he sniffed.

    wow. that’s wrong on so many levels it hurts my brain.

  16. kdrosas says:

    The advertisements started about three weeks ago. They are also advertising a wrinkle cream that is “so good” it was given away in gift baskets at the sundance film festival. Also… the man’s wife looked 10 years younger. I worked there until last week, so I was there when they started, First with the proactive, then the wrinkle cream. But they sell neither product. All the employees hate it.

  17. bigdirty says:

    Advertising while shopping, why I’d never! It looks like reader anne also hasn’t been in a shopping mall in the past 2 decades, with more advertising posters than a NYC subway, and now they have LCDs playing commercials……

  18. anneofandover says:

    While shopping in a mall, it is possible to ignore the advertising posters. Unless I want to wear my ipod while shopping, I can’t ignore an ad blaring over the PA system. Have you noticed that the mall advertising stops when you step into a store? Nowhere have I ever heard an ad for an item unrelated to the store I am in while shopping. Also, the NYC subway has nothing to do with TJX advertising in their stores. Don’t really see a connection there. If you want to hear a man going on about how much better and younger his wife looks since using a product while shopping then the more power to you, but I find it rather annoying and insulting.

  19. anneofandover says:

    I’m new to this sight, but isn’t complaining what it is all about? If you don’t like it, don’t read it.

  20. bradriley says:

    I have heard this ad played in Marshalls. Whats the problem? If you don’t like the idea of Marshalls trying to keep their prices low, LEAVE THE STORE. Its not like you are trapped on a plane, which happens to be how US Airways markets its credit card. (I find this tactic unacceptable.)

    Do you scream and complain every time a commercial comes on television? No, you probably change the channel.

  21. bradriley says:

    @Pylon83: right on

  22. Who cares if you have to listen to an advertisement or two while walking around the store?

    @Pylon83: Apparently Anne does.

    It IS annoying to be advertised at constantly. In this case it sounds like it just happened to come on over the radio but I think this would be a bad thing for them to implement on purpose. I agree with Eyebrows McGee: it’s one thing to hear there’s a special on aisle 3 and it’s another to hear ads for things the store doesn’t even sell.

    Do you scream and complain every time a commercial comes on television?
    @bradriley: No, but the particularly bad ones do end up one this web site.

    @fluffybudgie: Five bucks says the owner is baffled that he went out of business.

  23. Shadowman615 says:

    Juat the other day I heard a Geico ad on the PA, in between songs at the Super Fresh Grocery store. I wasn’t in there long enough to be able to tell if this was just a radio station playing or if they really added advertisements to their piped-in music.

    I thought it was interesting. I don’t really like be advertised to either. But I’m not going to whine about it and never go back to the store either — there are much better things to worry about.

  24. Rusted says:

    At my local supermarket, the in-store bank will be pushing an home equity loan over the PA. Sometimes in Spanish.

  25. Bryan Price says:

    If you’re shopping at TJX, you’d better be shopping with cash, that’s all I’ve got to say!

  26. noktulo says:

    I was at either TJ Maxx or Marshalls the other day (I’ve been to both a few times in the past few days) and heard an ad for Proactiv, but it didn’t really register that I did until I read this post. So obviously I didn’t find it that intrusive.

  27. FLConsumer says:

    I hope they never start doing PA announcements at events I acutally pay money to attend, such as $12 movies and $200/seat sporting events. Oh, wait…they already do.

  28. ihateauditions says:

    There are a lot of snarky “if you don’t like it, leave the store” style remarks in the thread, and every single one of them misses the point.

    If you don’t like it and you leave the store, neither the store nor the advertiser will know why it is you left the store. If you make some noise about why you did it, an intelligent store will at least ensure that they’ve considered the possibility that some people really don’t want to hear zit ads while they shop.

    After all, even if they don’t leave the store altogether, it could be a net negative if they spend slightly less time (and money) in the store.

  29. knorby says:

    I was once in a store that was giving out free samples for some food. I liked it, so I asked one of the employees if they had any. She looked at me strangely and said “no, it’s a sample.” I was bewildered.