Why This Wildly Popular TV Commercial is a Miss

So, if you’ve never seen this TV spot, you clearly don’t own a television or computer. It’s one of the most viewed videos on YouTube in 2013, and completely hilarious.

But, the business guy in me has a question; the same question I always ask of advertising: Did it work?

Kmart is desperate to save its brand, so I don’t blame them for throwing every idea against the wall to see what sticks. However, I have a sinking feeling that this ad, brilliant as it is, is a miss. A good litmus test for effective advertising is brand awareness. In other words, just after watching an ad (or better yet a day or a week later), can you remember what the advertised brand was?

Sorry, but the first few times I saw the ad, I didn’t connect it with Kmart. Don’t get me wrong, I laughed. My daughter and wife and parents and friends all laughed. “I shipped my” everything became a catch phrase around my house. But even now, when I see the ad, I don’t think of Kmart, and that is a problem.

Brand awareness is the chief goal of all advertising, and if you don’t achieve it, you have a failed ad. Now maybe I am wrong. Maybe Kmart is flush with cash since Shipped My Pants dropped. I couldn’t find any numbers on Kmart’s sales after the ad was released, so I don’t know.

In a previous post, I examined two similarly brilliant ads that achieved incredible brand awareness. They hit the sweet spot between creativity and efficacy. My gut tells me, though, that Kmart’s hail mary just isn’t going to do the job. Always remember that great ideas are only great when they achieve desired outcomes and, as a business person, that means customers.

When assessing your marketing efforts, don’t fall into the trap of style over substance. Focus on brand awareness and getting your message across; it’s okay to be a little less funny if you’re a lot more successful.

Do you agree? What do you think of Kmart’s chances of saving their brand?

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