Kmart has racked up millions of YouTube hits and plenty of attention with its viral ads that border on racy—but it’s not clear whether they are actually increasing sales.
The latest ad, added to its YouTube account today, is a variation of the “Ship My Pants” ad that went viral earlier this year, this time featuring characters from A Christmas Carol. The original ad has scored more than 20 million views on YouTube.
The retailer also scored more than 16 million YouTube views for another racy commercial, “Show Your Joe,” which featured some men “playing” holiday music with their Joe Boxer shorts.
Less popular, though still scoring 6 million views, was a commercial for “Big Gas Savings.”
The ads are winning mostly rave reviews from commenters, with one saying, “Kmart just won the holidays. Nice to see a company pushing the limits.”
Still, others have been put off, with one person writing on the company’s Facebook page: “I just saw a very distasteful commercial from Kmart. It showed several men facing you in their underwear…. I will not shop at Kmart until they decide to advertise in a tasteful manner.”
And as Mashable noted, the “viral” ads haven’t necessarily won the company more customers; its latest same-store sales were reported to be down.
Brian Sozzi, chief equities strategist at Belus Capital Advisors, told Mashable: “I almost think that the ads are hurting them. The ads suggest it’s back, but when you walk into the stores, it’s the same old thing. It’s a bait and switch.”
But Kmart director of public relations Shannelle Armstrong-Fowler told JCK that the ads show the retailer “is not afraid to have fun.… Going forward, look for more examples of content that will resonate with our members as part of our social strategy.”