K-Mart’s Back to School Commercials: Epic Fail or Big Win??

I’m sure you’ve been watching television and all of a sudden a hip hop inspired commercial from K-Mart airs.  Whether it’s a group of kids rapping on a school bus or a female trio dancing in a school hallway, these advertisements are making a profound effort to cater to the urban audience.  Previously, K-Mart’s stocks have been low so the company has to make and immense effort to reinvent itself.  As everyone recalls, the company filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy a few years ago.  Whether it’s catering to a new demographic, remodeling stores, or carrying merchandise from new brands, drastic times will call for drastic measures.

According to K-Mart’s Keys to Success , the urban youth consumer has become big business because of their buying power ($300 million) and influence over the mainstream consumer market.   The company’s strongest locations are its urban clusters.  Seems like a no brainer when it comes to which demographic to cater to, right?

However, when catering to an “urban” audience the message has to come across as AUTHENTIC.  If any aspect comes off as “corny,”  “trying too hard,” or unoriginal the consumer immediately gets turned off by the ad.  When the consumer can clearly see someone is trying to sell them a product they usually don’t bite the bait.  Advertisements that scream “buy me” aren’t as effective as those that are less subtle, emotional, clever, and/or funny.  K-Mart’s “Ship My Pants” commercials are a great example of comedic and clever advertisement.  However, when it comes to these back to school commercials it appears as if the company had no one in the brainstorming meeting  who is in touch with the lifestyle of today’s urban youth.  It appears as if they just researched statics that suggested urban youth should be the audience they cater to and alluded to the corporate cliche’ “let’s use rap music” ideology.  We do have to applaud K-Mart for not incorporating the overused rap terms “swag” and “turn up” during these airings (#ThankGod). Will its sells increase after this marketing campaign ends? If so, then it’s safe to say that the strategy paid off financially.  However, only time will tell.


One thought on “K-Mart’s Back to School Commercials: Epic Fail or Big Win??

  1. FAIL FAIL FAIL. Why do ‘urban’ youths have to do a damn shuck and jive? Same for McDonald’s and more. It really irks me that laziness in representation of ‘urban’ people ALWAYS results in a poorly put together beat and ridiculous visuals. Where is the creativity people?!

    Great post T!

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