Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Competition Gets Pantsed by Kmart

By Rich Duprey - Apr 14, 2013 at 2:45PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

New viral ad campaign goes for laughs using double entendres.

I'll admit that when it comes to Sears Holdings (SHLDQ), I'm not a big fan of the company. I see its death spiral as a slow, painful one for investors. It's too bad a new marketing campaign for its new Kmart shipping services isn't the norm, because it's the type of promo that makes the once venerable retailer seem relevant again.

Laden with innuendo, Kmart's "Ship My Pants" commercial highlighting the ability of shoppers to get items shipped for free from the company's website if it can't be found in stores is actually a pretty funny spot. It's gone viral, too, serving up more than 5 million hits at this writing, even though it was posted to YouTube just last week.

One actor remarks how excited he is that he can "ship my pants," while a woman notes that she "shipped my drawers" and a third person can't believe he "shipped my bed."

It's the kind of advertising that's fresh, despite being tinged with bawdiness. Contrast that with an out-of-touch and out-of-fashion decision by Sears to launch clothing lines by pop stars Nicki Minaj and Adam Levine -- an all too reminiscent retread of its Kim Kardashian clothing line -- and you have to give them props for going a different route here.

Not that the actual service Kmart is providing is unique, mind you. Wal-Mart (WMT 0.71%) offers a free ship-to-store feature, as do J.C. PenneyRadio Shack, Toys R Us, Nordstrom (JWN -2.78%), and a number of other retailers. Actually, so committed to customer service is Nordstrom that it's even had employees drive items to a customer's house at no charge to ensure they get it. 

Yet the service does set Kmart apart from some of its top rivals, such as Target (TGT -0.62%), which offers only a standard free shipping option if you use your Target credit card for the purchase. Macy's doesn't offer it at all.

Yet for those that do provide a free ship-to-store option, Kmart has separated itself by promoting it in a fun, memorable way. But let's see just how many customers decide to avail themselves of the opportunity and whether it can have an impact on a steadily declining retail base. As the Pets.com sock puppet made clear, a clever advertising campaign doesn't always translate into sales.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Sears Holdings Corporation Stock Quote
Sears Holdings Corporation
SHLDQ
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Stock Quote
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
WMT
$125.13 (0.71%) $0.88
Target Corporation Stock Quote
Target Corporation
TGT
$144.81 (-0.62%) $0.90
Nordstrom, Inc. Stock Quote
Nordstrom, Inc.
JWN
$20.28 (-2.78%) $0.58

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
323%
 
S&P 500 Returns
112%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 07/07/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.