Archive for the 'Recession' 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. 


FOX Sells Out Super Bowl Advertising: Return of Corporate Spending?

Three months before the big game and FOX has sold out advertising for Super Bowl XLV. Coupled with Thursday’s announcement that Microsoft net income rises 51 percent in the quarter ending Sept. 2010, these are two strong indicators that corporate spending is making a comeback.

KGB - "It's in the Hole" Ad

Selling out the Super Bowl this early is quite an accomplishment. It calls attention to the improved economic conditions providing comfort to advertisers. It also indicates the appeal of live sports to marketers who continue to seek appointment TV in the era of DVR’s but that is a blog topic for another time. If you use that DVR, you might have missed some creative ads, for example this spot from

Last year, CBS was still selling Super Bowl advertising in February, days before game. To give you an idea of FOX’s achievement, consider the following:
  • In 2010, CBS aired 48 minutes of advertising including NFL messages and CBS promotions for programs.
  • There were 66 spots sold at an average of $2.75 Million for 30 seconds = $181 Million.
  • Last year, due to the economic downturn, Pepsi and General Motors sat out the Super Bowl (they are back in 2011).

Automakers, beer/soft drink companies and’s are still the categories most represented, companies reported to be in the 2011 Super Bowl ad lineup include:

As other evidence of increased corporate spending is revealed, this is an important time for marketers to look for short-term opportunities to buy advertising at a discount once the elections are over November 2.  Advertising outlets are still feeling downward pressure on prices and marketers can take advantage before the outlets prices reflect the demand for advertising.

Tell us if you have seen indicators of corporate spending making a comeback, and how you have been able to leverage the network into business gains. Please write a comment and let us know. You can find Weise Communications on Facebook and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.



Gap commercial… What is the problem here?

In the last few days, the blog world has exploded in controversy with this new Gap holiday commercial. I saw it on TV last night and I thought there was cool dancing, there must be cheer leaders to pull that off, especially the girl who gets tossed 20 feet in the air at one point, nice sound stage to shoot on, good choreography. I also think the lyrics were fine…except that the Gap is showing its PC side. We have seen mostly PC holiday messages for years now.

But now there are groups (well, one actually: American Family Association – AFA) that are all bent out of shape because in the commercial’s lyrics say “You 86 the rules, you do what feels just right.”

I just dont understand the problem with the commercial. What do you think?

I have to run. I am attending a “Celebrate the coming of Winter with this Winter Welcome gathering” at Stapleton’s town center. Now that’s just another PC name for the lighting of the Christmas lights at my town center.  I hope people aren’t upset when they get there to find out Christmas won’t be mentioned anywhere. What a world we live in.

Here are the lyrics for the GAP commercial:
Two, Four, Six, Eight, now’s the time to liberate
Go Christmas, Go Hanukkah, Go Kwanza, Go Solstice.
Go classic tree, go plastic tree, go plant a tree, go add a tree,
You 86 the rules, you do what feels just right.
Happy do whatever you wanukkah, and to all a cheery night.

Go Christmas, Go Hanukkah, go whatever holiday you wanukkah.


The Recession: The Best Thing That’s Happened to Marketing?

1137933_recessionWith a title like “Thank God for the Recession: 5 Trends That Will Reshape Marketing,” how could this post not have caught my eye? And it’s a good thing it did, because Freddie Laker’s article helped me see the recession in a different light.

Laker says that the recession “might be the best thing that has happened to our industry in decades,” because it’s caused us to innovate, reinvent ourselves, think more strategically and bring a level of sophistication and maturity to our work and industry. I never thought about it this way – I’ve been so focused on marketing budgets getting cut – but I believe he’s right.

The five trends (a condensed version) Laker says are reshaping the face of marketing are:

  • Brand as an enabler – We’re moving away from shortsighted, highly sales-driven marketing campaigns in favor of long-term brand platforms that use evergreen content to add value to your day.
  • Distributed content – Modern digital marketers have recognized that in terms of the consumer, the center is everywhere. As a result, digital content is now designed to be syndicated, reskinned and reformatted while still remaining relevant.
  • Customer service as marketing – While a great product or service backed up with great customer support or service remains your biggest asset in achieving success, never before has the vehicle of customer service become one of your best methods for connecting with consumers in a social-media-driven Web.
  • Next-generation listening and targeting – As an industry we have moved beyond basic web and campaign analytics. Marketing firms are now able to monitor the entire customer life cycle with significantly more accuracy, and then track the correlation between traditional, digital and commerce channels and customer conversion.
  • Meaningful metrics – Deep analytics and tracking are enabling meaningful insight. As a result, in its ongoing path to full maturity, digital marketing is finally adopting meaningful metrics that we can equate back to real business value. Now marketers are moving beyond digital-campaign measurement standards such as traffic and are instead mapping key performance indicators back to metrics and ultimately the conversation funnel, which includes the different levels of engagement – awareness, consideration, purchase intent, purchase and loyalty.

While slashed marketing budgets may still keep me up at night, I’m eased a little by the thought that our industry is continuing to growing, learn and produce innovative work. I guess every cloud has a silver lining.

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