Kmart’s juvenile ads strike a nerve

The department store chain is relying on bathroom humor to drum up attention. The videos have gone viral, but it doesn’t constitute a brand strategy, experts say.

First it was customers “shipping [their] pants.” Now it’s “big gas savings” or #biggassavings.” They sound like jokes you might hear in the hallway of an elementary school, but these somewhat crude, albeit funny jokes are the cornerstones of Kmart’s two newest ads, which have, respectively, earned 18 million and 4.2 million views on YouTube. Advertising Benchmark Index’s analysis of both ads found that the second one, “big gas savings,” seems to be hitting a real chord. “The messaging was clear and easily understood, and the humor was not quite as lewd as the ‘Ship My Pants’ ad and did not generate the level of dislikes that ‘Ship My Pants’ did,” ABX President Gary Getto told Advertising Age. A Kmart spokeswoman told Ad Age that “humor is a natural part of the strategy” for the company. Branding experts say it can’t be the only strategy, though.

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