Archive for the 'Retail' 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. 


Study shows social media is weathering economic storm among retailers

1052434_shoppingAccording to a new study released today by The National Retail Federation’s and Forrester Research, social media marketing budgets are mostly on the rise despite an overall reduction in spending.

Mashable’s Adam Ostrow breaks it down like this:

•    Spending on social media is falling at a slower rate than spending in other online marketing channels, such as search engine marketing (i.e., pay-per-click)
•    Among retailers that are reducing spending, 56 percent are trimming search engine marketing, while only 24 percent will cut their social media marketing budget
•    Among retailers that are performing well, 12 to 20 percent will increase spending in social media marketing
•    Among retailers that are increasing budgets, 80 percent will put money into search, while 65 percent will put more into email marketing

As Adam points out, search marketing is a much larger space than social media marketing. This means that there is more money to be cut from search budgets, which helps explain why search dollars are being slashed faster than social media dollars.

I can’t say I was surprised by this study, but the findings were definitely encouraging. From what I’ve experienced so far, the social media trend doesn’t seem to be going away or slowing down anytime soon. It’s been a successful, cost effective option for companies in this economy, and I certainly see it growing by leaps and bounds once things pick up and businesses recover.

What are your thoughts on the study? Are you surprised by the results?

Share The Side Note

Facebook Twitter More...

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,099 other followers

Weise Twitter

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.