Kmart Continues the Puns With its 'Big Gas' Promotion

Is the Campaign Still Funny or Is the Joke Getting Old Already?

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Kmart’s “Ship My Pants” campaign was a huge viral success, so the retailer’s attempting to capitalize on the buzz with the release of another video ad.

The latest from Kmart’s creative agency DraftFCB promotes the “Big Gas Savings” that members of the retailer’s Shop Your Way rewards program can get when buying gas at Kmart pumps. The deal promises to let consumers save 30 cents on the gallon. But rather than a typical value message, the spot uses humor to get its point across.

Much like the “Ship My Pants” effort, it all comes down to saucy wordplay that strings together mundane words to sound like expletives. The talent in the spot repeatedly talks about the “big gas” savings and discounts they are getting when fueling up at Kmart instead of other gas stations. They talk about how the cheaper prices solve a “big gas” problem -- with kids chiming in on the joke too.

Both ads have been overseen by DraftFCB's chief creative officer Todd Tilford, and on the client side, by CMO Andrew Stein.

The last spot was so popular that it netted 12 million views in the span of a week and Kmart began airing it on TV. A Kmart spokeswoman in an email said they are also "exploring broadcast advertising" for this spot too. Whether the company invests in a media buy will likely depend on how many views it garners online as the internet is increasingly being viewed by marketers as a testing ground for whether or not its advisable -- especially with controversial ad campaigns -- to devote media dollars to television.

The question is whether Kmart plans to continue this ad campaign with a variety of pun-y iterations or if it changes tack when it completes its creative agency review -- now in the home stretch. Several industry executives report that the pitch is down to two Interpublic Group of Cos. shops, the incumbent DraftFCB and McCann.

Asked whether there's a fear that the joke is already getting old, the Kmart spokeswoman said: Creativity is important in Kmart’s advertising; especially to engage our Members and share new information on promotions and initiatives. We believe that humor is a natural part of the strategy."

Hopefully funny will translate into sales. Kmart, whose parent Sears Holdings Corp. is among the top 20 advertisers in the nation, saw same-store sales fall 3.7% for both the fourth quarter and the year.

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