Kmart Tailors TV Ads for Different Audiences

Holiday Sales Messages Change Depending on Who's Watching

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NEW YORK ( -- What did Kmart get for Christmas this year? Targeted TV ads, with sales messages tailored for specific audiences.
Kmart, using technology from Visible World, targeted different segments of Nick at Night's audiences.
Kmart, using technology from Visible World, targeted different segments of Nick at Night's audiences.
The national retailer, a division of Sears Holdings Corp., rolled out some of the first national TV ads of their kind Nov. 19 on Nick at Nite and TV Land. The campaign, using technology from Visible World, let the marketer target different segments of the networks' audiences.

Changing demographics
Tara Walpert, president of Visible World, said Kmart wanted to take advantage of the platform's rapid-response capability, which allows a marketer to change its creative on a dime. This came in especially handy for ads running on Nick at Nite, which sees different demographics tuning in to its programming as the prime-time programming schedule progresses.

"The demographics changed relatively significantly as you move throughout the evening. Whether it is parents or kids or a predominantly female audience, you can imagine the different skews from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. can be pretty significant," Ms. Walpert said.

Kmart was able to use a series of 14 spots to target its sales messages on Nick at Nite and TV Land, part of the the MTV cable networks, to different audiences. MTV first announced its deal with Visible World to create targeted ads earlier this year, and has been gradually deploying small executions ever since. At the time of the announcement, Hank Close, MTV Networks' president-ad sales, told Ad Age that prior to the Visible World deal, he was hearing significant interest in real-time advertising in recent discussions with automotive, retail and movie-studio marketers.
Visible World President Tara Walpert
Visible World President Tara Walpert

"This really takes us to a place where TV has some of the tools and abilities you have in the online world and the digital world," he said.

More ads to come
Ms. Walpert said more widespread usage of the technology across the MTV Networks would follow at the top of first-quarter 2008.

The first major campaign to use Visible World technology came at the end of 2006, when Wendy's ran a series of ads featuring raccoons who provided running commentary on a football game that aired on Fox Sports.

"The advantage to Wendy's was all of a sudden they had a live story," Ms. Walpert said at the time. "And the advantage to Fox was Wendy's was willing to invest in more spots because they knew they weren't going to wear out their audience with the same commercial."

In addition to automotive, retail and movie studios, Ms. Walpert added that financial services and direct-response marketers could also take advantage of the technology to promote different aspects of their products against specific demographics. A major bank, for example, could "take into account what's going on in the market, promoting messages on security and liability."
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