Leonard Riggio created Barnes & Noble's upcoming holiday TV commercial that features singers Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga and will debut Monday.He conceived and wrote the spot himself, and recruited the talent.
In the commercial, Mr. Bennett and Lady Gaga separately walk the aisles of a fictitious Barnes & Noble store while looking for a gift for each other. As they browse, viewers hear them singing Baby, It’s Cold Outside.
The ad is part of an effort to tap into an emotional connection between the bookstore chain and consumers.
Mr. Riggio asked Mr. Bennett, a longtime friend, if he’d be willing to participate in the TV commercial, and if he could bring in Lady Gaga. The pair released a successful collection of classic duets in 2014 titled “Cheek to Cheek.” Mr. Riggio had seen them perform together and enjoyed their personal chemistry.
In the ad, the two performers eventually bump into each other and exchange gifts, a jazz book for him, a fashion title for her. Before the commercial ends, viewers hear the tagline Barnes & Noble is hoping will strike a chord with book buyers: You never know who you’ll meet at Barnes & Noble.