“Sophomoric” Kmart Ad Goes Viral

Whether it elicits yuks or “yuk!” Kmart’s new double-entedre-laden commercial is being seen by some as a textbook example of how a retailer can win attention in the age of viral video.

The ad, which touts the retailer’s home-shipping service, has already racked up 13 million views on YouTube, as well as 20,000 shares and more than 39,000 likes on Facebook. According to Unruly Media, a firm that tracks viral ads, it has already become the 37th most shared ad of all time. 

The retailer’s director of public relations Shannelle Armstrong-Fowler tells JCK that the “pants shipping” ad, which has so far appeared only online, will air on cable TV starting next week.

“Kmart is not afraid to have fun and if the video made our members laugh or smile, then it was mission accomplished,” she says. “Going forward, look for more examples of content that will resonate with our members as part of our social strategy.”

But not everyone has embraced the ad’s innuendo-laden approach, with press accounts calling it everything from “the funniest ad of 2013” to “sophomoric” and “silly.” The conservative group One Million Moms has called for the ad to be pulled from the air.

On the company’s Facebook page, reaction was similarly divided, although it seemed to lean positive. One person posted: “Kmart’s distasteful new commercial has to go! This ad should be pulled off the air immediately.”

But another said: “Funny how some Superbowl commercials are much more crude then this. Your commercial is light hearted humor with a good marketing message.” And it closed with a message any marketer would love to hear: “Now that I think of it, I need new pants.”

JCK News Director