Tag Archives: kmart commercial

Kmart’s “Show Your Joe” — How DraftFCB Created More Than Just a Viral Video

25 Nov


   No, this is not your grandmother’s Kmart.  And that’s the point.  If you think the latest internet-only ad from Kmart looks like a PG-13 version of Chippendales, that too is the point.

     The new ad called “Show Your Joe” is the latest in a series of slightly edgy digital shorts (no pun intended) designed specifically for the sharability of social media.  It is not without controversy, and that also is likely part of the goal to reawaken awareness of a flagging brand.  Jingle Joe 5

     But there’s much more going on here.  Kmart’s agency, DraftFCB-Chicago has built in a clear strategy behind the naughty-but-nice jingle bells spoof.  That strategy is to boost Christmas sales among  young internet savvy women by co-branding with Joe Boxer.  They do this by embedding an integrated link at the end of the video that redirects the viewer to a special Kmart shopyourway.com page featuring each of the “Jingle Joes.” (Figure 1)  Click on one of the “Joes” and another page pops up with a virtual catalog of gift ideas laid out in Pinterest-like tiles to create your own “Fantasy Joe.”  The subtle but strategic message argument is, “Dress your man the way you want—at Kmart.” 

Figure 1

Figure 1

     What Kmart is attempting to do is create a new value proposition in digital space.  It’s not so much about discount pricing as it is about allowing the shopper to experience the enjoyment of customizing their man through an easy and fun online shopping tool.  The “Show Your Joe” video is merely the bottom rung of the means-end ladder to creating the perfect Christmas gift for the price and style conscious woman—a fun dressed man she wants to be seen with.  The ad is really about her, not him.

     This is not Kmart’s first attempt at edgy videos.  Earlier this year DraftFCB created an online ad called “Ship My Pants” designed to drive traffic to kmart.com for free shipping. 

    In a previous post I explored how more major brands such as Ford and Njoy have used digital-only campaigns in social space to target very specific market segments.   Kmart is only the latest player in this category and according to internet tracking data, the strategy may be working. 

Figure 2

Figure 2

     Google Trends shows a sharp rise in online search for Kmart since the release of the “Show Your Joe” ad. (Figure 2)  Additionally, the web tracking service Alexa shows consistent growth in traffic to both kmart.com and shopyourway.com in the two weeks ahead of the post-Thanksgiving holiday rush.

     The ultimate metric is whether those searches and visits are converting into sales.  Kmart is making a low-cost bet that the strategy is worth it.  With more than 12-million views on YouTube, “Show Your Joe” is at least placing them into the holiday shopping conversation.  And that’s a place every retail brand wants to be.  


Ship my Pants — The Strategy Behind Kmart’s Edgy Commercial

15 Apr


      Kmart has reinvented the Blue Light Special and it’s… well, a bit blue.  Perhaps too blue for traditional television and that’s part of the unique strategy.

      The original discount department store has pulled a little sophomoric potty humor out of isle ten in hopes of gaining more attention in a retail marketplace dominated by Walmart, Target and Amazon. 

Kmart's "Ship My Pants" commercial created by DraftFCB Chicago.

Kmart’s “Ship My Pants” commercial created by DraftFCB Chicago.

      DraftFCB in Chicago has produced a brilliantly off-color and humorous message promoting Kmart’s ability to “ship my pants,” or anything else from kmart.com for free.   

      The message is very strategic.  Kmart is simply trying to regain lost customers by using humor to remind them that they don’t have to go to Amazon or Walmart to shop online. (Figure 1)

Figure 1

Figure 1

     The unique part of the strategy is to avoid television, and go directly to social media where edgy messaging can exceed the more sanitized boundaries of broadcast television.  It’s a messaging strategy more agencies and brands are exploiting in a multi-digital channel viral world.  In Kmart’s case, it was a brilliant success.  In the first 48-hours, “Ship my Pants” received more than two million YouTube views.

     Kmart is far from alone.  NJOY smokeless cigarettes also just scored a viral hit with Courtney Love dropping the f-bomb in an internet-only commercial that says bad girls can still be bad. 


    Several years ago, Ford didn’t have to say a word while promoting a sport version of its successful European compact car named Ka.  It targeted young urban men with an edgy internet video, the likes of which could never air in the United States.  


     Sometimes the strategy is not about being edgy, it’s about entertainment.  Turkish Airlines just achieved viral video gold with a commercial featuring two of the world’s best known athletes competing for the attention of a young fan.  The video was such a huge success that the airline created its own infographic explaining how it worked. (See below)

     Central to the strategy in all of these campaigns is the sharable functionality of social media.  Brand loyalists, followers, and viewers of these commercials who like and share the message among friends are in many respects more valuable than an expensive spot on prime time television.  In Kmart’s case, the strategy creates some opportunistic buzz for the brand at a time when JC Penney is hemorrhaging customers and every other discount retailer is still fighting for market share in the economic recovery.  

     Kmart and DraftFCB prove that creativity is still alive and well and fun… if not a little naughty. 

[Note: To keep up with more great video commercials, follow advertising savant John Eighmey]

Courtesy: Turkish Airlines

Courtesy: Turkish Airlines

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