What Brands Can Learn from Kmart’s Holiday Marketing Success

This holiday season, one brand is doing particularly well with its advertising campaign: Kmart. With two wildly successful commercials, Kmart showed us that racy humor can be a huge benefit to your marketing campaign. First, Kmart released the infamous “Show Your Joe” ad, which featured men wearing tuxedos on top and boxers on the bottom wiggling around in time to Jingle Bells. Next, Kmart launched the “Ship My Trousers” ad, a Christmas version of their incredibly successful “Ship My Pants” ad that went viral back in April. Read on to find out about the five marketing lessons these videos teach us.

1. Racy Humor Works

First, the success of these ads shows us that racy humor works. The first installment of “Ship My Pants,” a silly play on words, quickly rose to number 37 amongst the most-shared ads of all time with over 1.6 million Facebook shares and more than 31,000 shares on Twitter. While the Christmas version, “Ship My Trousers,” was not quite as successful, it does have over 2 million views on YouTube. Considered to be even racier, “Show Your Joe” currently has over 16.7 million YouTube views and more than a million Facebook shares. While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, racy humor has shock value, which certainly helped these videos go viral.

2. Negative Reactions Can be Positive

An ad that was sexual in nature, “Show Your Joe” was met with negative criticism by many customers. However, these negative reactions only helped the ad gain more publicity. While serious backlash is never a plus for brands, some negative responses are a great way to fuel the fire and help videos go viral. Remember that there is a fine line between ads that will offend a few and ads that will offend everyone – tread carefully on this territory.

3. Great Marketers Take Risks

Overall, the success of these commercials shows that great marketers take risks. Rather than following along with their typical advertising strategy, Kmart chose to take some serious risks over 2013 with the creation of these ads. Risk taking is necessary because it ads life to your marketing campaign and helps your brand stay fresh and unique.

4. You Don’t Need to Focus on Selling

Another important lesson that Kmart can teach other video marketers is the fact that your videos do not need to focus on selling. In these commercials, Kmart prioritizes the humor in the commercials over simply selling products. Instead, their products and services blend in with the joke being made. This tactic is advantageous because it doesn’t make customers feel like they are being sold to; instead, it makes them feel entertained.

5. You Don’t Need a Huge Budget

Last but not least, the success of the first “Ship My Pants” ad tells marketers that a huge budget is not a necessity for creating a successful commercial. The Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Kmart, Andrew Stein, actually launched “Ship My Pants” on his own personal YouTube account. The marketing campaign did not have a large budget, yet it still managed to go viral and become one of the most successful ads of the year.

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