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shipped my pants

CASE STUDY: Kmart "Ship My Pants"

kmart ship my pants I am one of those people who only watches the Super Bowl for the commercials. Perhaps it's a result of my aversion to professional football, but I prefer to think it's inspired by my curiosity about the marketing industry.

I don't throw the word "epic" around very often, but last night I stumbled across what I feel comfortable calling an epic triumph in advertising. A commercial so great, in fact, that I watched it about twelve times...and laughed during each rolling of the tape.

If you haven't seen Kmart's new "Ship my Pants" spot...brace yourself. (Thoughts continue after the leap...)

As one YouTuber put it, "this is a commercial that appeals to the 12-year-old inside of all of us." As the commercial, which has been live for less than two weeks, nears 15 million views, I'd say that's a lot of inner 12-year-olds. Beyond the potty humor, the spot was a genius move for several reasons...

  • It's talkable. Admittedly, it's not exactly high-brow humor, but the spot uses just enough shock factor to strike that sweet spot where amused meets aghast. When this happens, it gets people talking and sharing. In an age where everyone hits the fast forward on the DVR, you've done something right when 15 million people have made an effort to track your spot down so they can share it with their friends and watch it over and over again. 
  • It  targets a new demographic. Traditionally regarded as the retailer of choice for grannies and cat ladies, this spot was a ballsy way to break the schema associated with Kmart. By breaking through the clutter with messaging that is totally out of character, the brand has tapped into the minds (and mouths) of a new, younger demographic. (Or as Dr. Jonah Berger eloquently puts it in his book Contagious, top of mind = tip of tongue.)
  • It launches the brand into a new space. As a bricks-and-mortar store, Kmart has no doubt been impacted by the changing retail landscape. Sure, they have a website, but when it comes to online ordering, it's hard to compete with amazon. At the core, the spot drives home a clear message, flipping the proverbial bird to Amazon and giving their shipping policy a run for its money.

While a tv spot can't save the world, I can't help but wonder if taking a messaging risk can ignite a turnaround for a brand many consider(ed) to be on their way out. I'm curious to see what the future of Kmart's messaging has in store for us. In the meantime, I'll be here giggling away every time that lady enthusiastically whispers, "I just shipped my drawers!"