By now we’ve all seen Kmart’s “Ship My Pants,” ad that went viral (17 million views on YouTube) and then aired as an ad on TV. Well, they’ve created yet another ad that’s become a viral hit: “Big Gas Savings!”
Kmart really had nothing to lose by running ads like these—the store has been left in the dust by Target, and Walmart, especially, over the years. So ads like “Ship My Pants!” and “Big Gas Savings!” help to change the perception of Kmart as irrelevant; getting people talking about the store again is half the battle, the second half is to promote its goods. These ads accomplished both:
The company was looking to promote its integrated retailing approach, one where customers can seamlessly decide whether to have items shipped for free to their homes or to any store they choose. It’s a fairly dry topic–if very important for the retailer–and Kmart wanted to bring this to life in a memorable way.
How did Kmart do it? According to Bill Kiss, Kmart’s chief digital marketing officer, they employed social monitoring and listening to test the waters first online: “[we] build some content and put it out there, and let America react…We’re very nimble and when we push something out there we watch very carefully how America reacts to it. We were tallying sentiment, which was overwhelmingly positive…We did that deliberately. We wanted to make sure that this wasn’t off-putting to our customers,” explained Kiss.
Kmart took a chance on a sensational ad, monitored the flow and patterns of data, and then listened to the reactions and feedback to see the ad was doing what they hoped it would do: shake up their brand and deliver the message of free shipping….and now big gas savings! Kmart employed a smart media strategy of monitoring and listening and thus are enjoying their first win in decades.
Having said that, I do think it might be wise to change up their ad campaigns now. The reason why these two ads were a success is because of the element of surprise. Both ads go against the grain of Kmart’s image. But over time, the jokes run thin…and…..ah well, who am I kidding?! Anyone care to guess what body part/bodily function will be punned in Kmart’s next ad?