Charm Offensive: Are Kmart’s Playfully ‘Offensive’ Ads Losing their Punch?


Kmart has gotten a lot of attention in recent weeks for running semi-controversial ads that feature such double-entendre titles as “Ship My Pants” and “Big Gas Savings.” It appears, though, that consumers have tired of the Sears-owned retailer’s antics.

Its latest campaign, aimed at a younger demographic, according to InvestorPlace, features a culturally-diverse bunch of kids telling “Yo Mama” jokes to one another, though the jokes all are about how cool the clothes are and how awesome “yo mama” must be for buying them at Kmart: “Yo mama get that hoodie at Kmart?” “Yeah, dawg.” “Well, yo mama must have cavities, ‘cuz that hoodie is sweeeeeeeet!” And so on.[more]

The public is apparently not laughing. At least, they’re not laughing as hard as they were about shipping their pants and getting big gas savings. After seven days, the new ad, put together by Draftfcb, has 185,000 views. According to Business Insider, “Ship My Pants” had 9.5 million views five days after its release. 

Adweek notes that some commenters have suggested that the ad “perpetuates stereotypes,” but goes on to say that this likely isn’t the problem. Despite the kids’ energy delivering their lines, this one just isn’t as funny as the others.

Ironically, while Kmart is trying to push its message by making playfully “offensive” statements, it has joined fellow retailers CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid to boycott the sale of the latest issue of Rolling Stone, which features the face of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover. A Kmart rep told The Huffington Post to say that the issue wouldn’t be sold “out of respect for those impacted by the events of April 15th.”