Archive for the 'TV' Category


Kmart’s Holiday Ad: Below the Belt or Missed the Boat?

Thanks to Jordan McNamara for contributing this article to The Side Note.

In a 2012 article, Advertising Age discussed Kmart’s shrinking presence in the low-cost retail field ( Annual sales were down, causing Ad Age to suggest the brand had lost relevance with discount shoppers. In the realm of discount stores, Wal-Mart dominates the low-price segment and Target holds the throne for hip, so where does this leave Kmart?

Over the holidays, Kmart and parent company Sears Holdings Corp. ( made a big jingle in the viral world with the release of the holiday “Show Your Joe” commercial.

Show Your Joe

Following last year’s “Ship My Pants” spot and “Big Gas Savings,” all created by agency DraftFCB, this indicates a major brand shift for the retail chain. Kmart’s Facebook page received many complaints from angry viewers, calling the ad “disgusting and not fit for family consumption” and “inappropriate for kids!!!” ( Many customers also accused Kmart of sacrificing family values and decency in exchange for cheap laughs.
Departure from their traditional ‘baby boomer’ demographic in pursuit of younger shoppers may be exactly Kmart’s intention. According to a Forbes article from last February, Kmart is focusing on improving sales within the 18-34 year old group (

However, Time reported humor is not an effective tactic for converting sales ( Although funny spots succeed at being memorable for consumers, they do not distinguish why the brand is better or what problem the product solves. “Ship my Pants” and “Big Gas Savings” have more than 30 million views combined views on YouTube, but Forbes reported 3rd quarter sales for Kmart were still down (

The Joe Boxer commercial may be the perfect example of funny, but ineffective. With more than 17 million views on YouTube, the ad has unquestionably garnered attention. However, the spot highlights only one product line available in Kmart stores rather than the Kmart brand as a whole. Plus, it lacks differentiation—what about these specific boxers make them so great? Why are they better than others? Why should I shop at Kmart for underwear? The ad does not answer any of these questions to make the brand or product relatable to the consumer. Both earlier ads by DraftFCB mentioned above do speak to benefits Kmart offers its customers, but the most effective ads connect with consumers on a deeper, emotional level.

Due to holiday shopping, fourth quarter sales can account for as much as 40 percent of annual sales for retailers ( With that in mind, Kmart needed a stellar season to climb out of the hole after six years of continually declining sales ( Numbers for 2013’s fourth quarter have not been released yet, but if third quarter sales are any indication, this ad will not be enough to sway shoppers away from other discount stores.

Kmart may have some big…er, bells, but that might not have been enough to fulfill this retailer’s Christmas wishes.

Do you shop at Kmart? Tell us what you think of the Joe Boxer ad here. Is your brand in need of an overhaul? The Weise team can identify problem areas and create a strategy to give your brand a boost in our Navigator session. Contact us. 


Is Social Media our Industrial Revolution?

Yesterday, I was watching a report about the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.  I was surprised to learn that the spill was larger than the Exxon Valdez disaster. I was even more surprised to see how many reporters and analysts were ready to offer opinions on how to clean up the spill, how the U.S. government should be involved and the restitution BP should pay to the American people.  There was instant reaction by bloggers, Twitter and through other types of social media.

I was struck by how social media journalism has become mainstream.  I wasn’t watching objective journalism reporting the events of the day; I was on a roller-coaster of emotion.

The media industry used to be shaped by journalists. Today, enthusiasts, analysts and zealots masquerading as experts join them. Social discussion, opinion and advocacy journalists are filtering the news I see today.  This is a transformative time as we are able to participate in the news and information being disseminated. We are no longer only consumers of information.

Social media has evolved to influence the information we obtain. It is increasingly becoming the preferred method for the acquisition and spread of knowledge among common people.  Is social media our generations’ version of the Industrial Revolution?

In business terms, it is redefining how marketers respond to the marketplace.  It is increasingly important for businesses to have a social media strategy.  Without it, companies are missing important customers, stakeholders and influential opinion makers.  There are conversations taking place about your industry, your company and your market. You need to participate in those conversations to ensure the most accurate information is being disseminated. You need to listen to those conversations to understand consumer perception.

Most importantly, if you are active in social media, your influence in those conversations increases.  This has additional business value:

  • Improved search engine rankings (SEO)
  • More traffic to your company website
  • Ability to quickly respond to crisis situations

Participate in the conversation, by posting a reply to this blog. If you need to improve your social media prominence, contact us at Weise Communications. Check out Weise Communications on Facebook and “Like” it for future updates.


Meeting with the media

At the Wednesday, May 26, Colorado Healthcare Communicators breakfast, Denver-area media members shared tips, tricks and thoughts on how best to communicate with them. Media members at the breakfast included:

  • Justin Jimenez –
  • Misty Montano – CBS 4
  • Tim Ryan – 9News
  • John Romero – Fox 31
  • Daniel Smith – Your Hub
  • Clayton Woullard – Your Hub
  • Natasha Gardner – 5280 Magazine
  • Jill West – Entercom Radio: KOSI, Alice, 99.9, KEZW
  • Amber Johnson – Denver Post’s Mile High Mamas
  • Mike Cote – ColoradoBiz Magazine

Meeting with the mediaThough these exchanges happen on a fairly regular basis with many different organizations, there is always something for attendees to take away. From this meeting, the media panel emphasized that increased workload and multiple platforms are keeping them very busy. With shrinking staff and increasing content to be created (several outlets talked about new newscasts that are being added and increased frequency of newsletters), media need to do their jobs faster and better. To cut through the clutter and get coverage in a crowded space communicators have to understand the media and help them get the content they need when and how they need it.

By crafting a story to a specific media outlet and showing the contact why this story matters, communicators can help the media to cut time reading through information not pertaining to their outlet or audience. Once the media expresses interest in a story, communicators can further assist by telling the story in the same way that the media tells it. If you are trying to get a story covered by:

  • Television – explain the compelling visual images that could accompany the story.
  • Radio – describe how the story translates to sound including what sound bites are available.
  • Print – identify the most important facts and make clear why the readers of that specific publication would be interested.

At the end of the day, trying to get the media to cover a story means you have to think like the person on the other side of that email, phone call, conversation, Facebook message or Tweet. Why do they care and why will this story interest readers, viewers or listeners?


best British television commercial

hovis The British television advertising awards (btaa) were recently held in London.  Hovis, a bread manufacturer that has been in business for 122 years, won the award for best television commercial.  The 122 second  ad, called “Go on Lad,” takes you through 122 years of Britain’s history. I really liked this commercial because it did such a great job of telling a story.  My favorite part was when the young lad was running past a window with a radio in it during WWII.  As he was doing so, Winston Churchill could be heard reciting part of his famous speech saying, “we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills, we shall never surrender.”  It was components like that that made me feel apart of the boy’s journey.

I have posted the video below for your enjoyment.  Click here for a full list of winners. (Courtesy of Brand Republic News.)


Super Bowl Fake Out

I’m not mad at Jennifer Hudson, Faith Hill or even Whitney Houston, at least not for lip-syncing at the Super Bowl. The NFL, however, does not receive my good graces.

Here’s a quick timeline of how it went down:

Sunday: I missed the Super Bowl
Monday: I heard about Jennifer Hudson’s amazing performance and watched it on Youtube.
Tuesday: I read that it was lip-synced. GASP! What?

I get the NFL’s reasons for pressing the artists to lip-sync when singing the National Anthem and other patriotic songs. Rob Levine, executive editor of Billboard magazine, put it like this:

“If Bruce Springsteen flubs a line on ‘Born to Run’ only his fans will notice,” he said. “If Jennifer Hudson flubs on the national anthem, people are going to get upset. People want it to be technically perfect as well as emotionally inspiring.“

And you know what? It was emotionally inspiring…until this morning. There are a million analogies I could come up for this kind of disappointment: Going to bed after having a few drinks and waking up with a headache; thinking someone is waving at you on the street only to find they are waving at the person behind you; reaching for a grape in the fruit bowl only to discover it’s plastic…you get the picture.

For it to last, it has to be real. The fact that the NFL encourages lip-syncing makes me feel pandered too and like they are out to get me. Maybe I’m crazy, but I think anyone who tries to deceive me shouldn’t be trusted.
Is the game real? Or is it just a show too?

And why isn’t the NFL receiving the kind of bad PR that Ashlee Simpson suffered five years ago? I know you haven’t all forgotten that…or forgiven her for it.


Journalists Joining the “Dark Side”

More and more journalists have been leaving newspapers, TV and radio over the last several years and heading to the “dark side” (a.k.a. public relations). And with the economy tanking and media outlets laying off, cutting back and even folding, journalists are seeking jobs as PR practitioners now more than ever.

These career moves haven’t only been seen on a local level. Even former MSNBC general manager, Dan Abrams, has gotten in on the action. Late last year he started Abrams Research, “a media strategy firm that connects business leaders with a global community of media professionals.”

So what does this influx of media folks mean for PR? The way I see it, a few different things:

•    Our industry is growing (see yesterday’s post) and the media industry is shrinking. Before too long we won’t have many traditional journalists to pitch stories to – the herd is thinning.
•    The use of social media as a promotional tool will rapidly and steadily continue to climb.
•    The PR job market will become more competitive.

Over the years journalist friends and colleagues of mine, who are looking to make the leap and want some advice, have contacted me. And recently – within the past three months – this correspondence has picked up considerably.

I’ve always welcomed former journalists into this industry, but I also wonder exactly what they’re thinking and experiencing when they make the change.

Are they reluctant?

Do their fellow journalists ostracize them?

And once they’re in PR, what do they experience?

Do they have a newfound respect for our work and for us?

Is it an easy transition for them?

Have you made a move like this? What were your experiences? We’d love to know.

Check here tomorrow for funny and thrilling PR stunts!

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