An Ad That I Love Vol. VI

I’m going to take this opportunity due to a power outage at work to do one of my favourite things! An Ad That I Love post! Today’s ad came out almost two months ago but I doubt that many people have seen it on the TV. It appears to be an internet only ad and definitely making some waves especially from such a large player in the market.

The company is Kmart and it is currently the 3rd largest discount chain in the world (behind Wal-Mart and Target). I know I haven’t personally heard much from Kmart in the last couple of years besides financial troubles, especially after the company purchased struggling Sears* (date was 2005 according the sources). They have a convenient pharmacy which I believe is the last time that I really went into the store for anything. It brings to mind a saying that was tossed around in business school, something along the lines of “If you’re not in the top two, then you should not compete in that industry.”**

*There is a point to be made here that traditional brick and mortar department stores have struggled with other retailers with more and more people shopping online. These electronic retailers (Amazon, ebay, Zappos) do a great job of keeping costs lower than department stores but do have an issue with clothing wherein most shoppers still want to physically touch and try on clothes before purchasing. (Side, side note: Universal sizing, can that be a thing already? See: The 7 Most Baffling Things About Women’s Clothes) Sears has been able to pull through by aligning itself strongly with a tools/hardware as Kohl’s or Macy’s with straight to wear fashion and home goods. Department stores showing surprising resilience and maybe making a comeback? 

**A problem that I run into frequently is that I keep great quotations in my head but have no idea where I heard or read it. This is a problem cause I feel like 40% of the time when I’m having an intelligent conversation and want to incorporate information that I learned (or a great quote) I don’t put in that potentially excellent point because I think I have about a 60% chance of misquoting or misinterpreting the information and/or using a less than reliable source (see: reddit). 

So in the discount chain area, Kmart is in slow decline but with thousands of stores still open and a hefty network of suppliers and great some notable in house brands (Martha Stewart collection?), what is a company to do? Viral video ad campaign?

Oh boy, that made me laugh so much the first time I saw it. So it is an old established brand resorting to what really is the lowest common denominator. It is unexpected, crass, and very funny. Let’s break it down:

First things first, the service Kmart is advertising is having items shipped directly to stores for pickup. This has proven to be a particularly effective generator of sales for rival WalMart and Target as these brick and mortar retailers seek to tie in online presence to the store. The idea is simple, if you find something that you like when you’re shopping online, you can have it shipped for free to your local store where you can pick it up (usually within a day or so) and try it on and touch the item. At the same time, that is bringing you into the store with the opportunity for additional purchases (“while I’m here” type of thing). And it really doesn’t cost the company all that much extra as the lines of shipping between stores is existing at some level or another anyway.

The presentation is fantastic, while Wal-Mart and Target may have had established systems in place, both failed to make such a splash in the market, with the video above scoring nearly 19 million views on the official Kmart channel.***

***It is important to note that, especially on youtube, once a video begins to become “viral” several copies will be made on various channels in order to take advantage of the popularity. People will “repost” these videos in order to bring attention and views to their own channel which generates the channel owner revenue (through ads). Therefore any given video, such as the above ad, may have several million views outside of the “official” channel. 

Does it work?
Hard to say. According to this ABC report at the end of May, Kmart is showing a decrease in sales for the quarter but there really hasn’t been enough time to evaluate its effectiveness. There is a lot of buzz around the ad and personally, it is the first time in a long time that Kmart has really done something to stick out. I look forward to seeing how much of an affect this campaign has not only for the bottom line for Kmart but for the industry as well. How cool would it be if this helps Kmart sweep to some sort of fantastic resurrection?

Here is the latest ad:

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As always, let me know if there is an Ad that you love and it might be featured here!

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