First it was customers “shipping [their] pants.” Now it’s “big gas savings” or #biggassavings.”
They sound like jokes you might hear in the hallway of an elementary school, but these somewhat crude, albeit funny jokes are the cornerstones of Kmart’s two newest ads, which have, respectively, earned 18 million
and 4.2 million
views on YouTube.
Advertising Benchmark Index’s analysis of both ads
found that the second one, “big gas savings,” seems to be hitting a real chord.
“The messaging was clear and easily understood, and the humor was not quite as lewd as the ‘Ship My Pants’ ad and did not generate the level of dislikes that ‘Ship My Pants’ did,” ABX President Gary Getto told Advertising Age
A Kmart spokeswoman told Ad Age
that “humor is a natural part of the strategy” for the company. Branding experts say it can’t be the only
RELATED: Learn how companies like NASCAR drive engagement with content marketing at Ragan’s Content Summit.
Al Getler, president and CEO of Ellie on Wheels Media,says YouTube success can certainly do a lot to help a brand—just look at ventriloquist Jeff Dunham. However, Kmart has to seize the moment.
“I like the spots,” says Getler, who is also a blogger
. “They are clever, and they make me laugh, fifth-grade humor and all. If Kmart doesn't swing this to positive change, then they just used low-brow humor for flash-in-the-pan attention. Kmart can be funny all day long, but if I have to go into their aging stores, feel like merchandise is falling off the shelves on me, and stand on line for a price check while I celebrate my birthday a couple of times, I will not be back.”
Branding expert Rob Frankel
is even less charitable. He says the ads are “another hail Mary from a desperate ad agency trying to cover over Kmart's lack of brand strategy.”
“Advertising has many cases of funny spots that didn't work, going all the way back to Alka-Seltzer spots in the 1960s,” he says.
That said, funny ads can have an impact. When Old Spice’s “smell like a man” ads went viral in 2010, sales spiked
Matt Wilson is a staff writer for Ragan.com.