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The first strategic alliance between a major marketer and Martha Stewart begins March 1 with the debut of the Martha Stewart Everyday line of bed, bath and paint products at Kmart Corp. stores.

The deal is the first executed since Ms. Stewart earlier this month formed Martha Stewart Omnimedia to oversee her media and merchandising empire.


The line will be promoted via a $10 million TV, print and Sunday circular campaign. Ads were created by Campbell Mithun Esty, Minneapolis, with an assist from Working Class Productions, New York, an ad agency that often works with Ms. Stewart.

Using a store-within-a-store concept, the bed and bath lines are exclusive to Kmart but the paint line, from Sherwin-Williams Co., will be offered to other retailers after the May debut, said Omnimedia CEO Sharon Patrick.

The deal with Kmart, a company Ms. Stewart first allied with almost 10 years ago on a smaller scale, offers a glimpse of the hands-on fashion in which her new company is marketing Ms. Stewart.

In an apparent effort to maintain Ms. Stewart's standards, Kmart will devote an aproned Martha Stewart sales associate to the Everday department.

To "fill in service gaps," Ms. Patrick said, signage will feature Ms. Stewart and the products, and videos will run with how-to tips from Ms. Stewart, including the proper way to make a bed with hospital corners. A toll-free phone line will be available for out-of-stock items or home delivery, while online shopping services will start in March.


"We want to be involved in every part of the merchandising as a true partner, not just a licensee," said Ms. Patrick, "and raise the level of advertising, marketing and merchandising."

She wouldn't specify what other programs Martha Stewart Om-nimedia has planned but said that since the Kmart alliance is for bed and bath only, Ms. Stewart could commit to other retailers for other product lines.

The Kmart commercial breaks Feb. 27 and shows a slumbering Ms. Stewart and her cat awakened by the alarm. Apparently running late, she races and stumbles out of the house-while conveniently showcasing her sheets, towels and shower curtain-before hopping into a semi truck with the Martha Stewart Everyday and Kmart logos. It ends with the tagline, "Martha Stewart's style. Kmart's low prices."

The spot begins an ad program that includes magazine spreads in women's books (excluding Martha Stewart Living, which caters to a more upscale audience than Kmart's) and a redesigned circular for Kmart dropping March 2 and hitting 73 million households.


Perhaps trying to justify why the upscale Ms. Stewart would link with downscale Kmart, the Stewart camp presented a great deal of research as to why they chose this particular partner.

"Kmart has an amazing ability to reach people," Ms. Stewart said, noting the retailer operates 2,100 stores and 71% of Americans claim to shop there. "That's why we're in business together."

"Whether the people are shopping at Kmart because they don't have enough money, they are frugal or looking for value, they are the kind of people I want to reach," said Ms. Stewart.

The alliance's benefits for Kmart are more obvious.

"The [Martha Stewart] line is critical to reposturing the company," said Chairman-CEO Floyd Hall. "We're focusing on brand development and it didn't take

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