kmart logoMany retail stores have been struggling to compete with Wal-Mart and other large online retailers like Amazon. Kmart, at least in my view of reality, was almost written off for me. I never really knew too much about the store, but I did know that it wasn’t fairing as well as Wal-Mart and especially not as well as Amazon. But things might be turning around for Kmart after a brilliant cross-platform commercial hit the web, TV, and the airwaves.

Ship Your Pants

If you haven’t seen #shipmypants trending on Twitter, you probably will soon. The tag came with a commercial Kmart posted on the 10th and the video has since gone viral with over 7.5 million views and countless articles, press, controversy, and more covering the commercial. Watch it here, if you have a good sense of humor:

The whole #shipmypants campaign is genius if you ask me. This is exactly what the marketing doctor ordered for Kmart as it has been struggling for years. As Samantha Grossman writes for Time, “the ad has stirred up plenty of chatter across the web, drawing lots of attention to the Kmart name.” Kmart is a brand that many perceived to have “lost its relevance over the years.” Maybe this will give Kmart the boost it needs to pull itself back into relevance with the US consumer.

Part of the reason this ad is so impressive, is the fact that it masterfully balances the line between inappropriate and hilarious. I mean, come on, “I shipped my pants” is hilarious – if you don’t think it is, well you need to get your sense of humor checked. Another reason it’s impressive is the fact that it holds your attention so well. Not until the very end do you realize what Kmart is doing – shipping a product you can’t find at the store right to you while you’re at the store. It’s a great way to stop showrooming and also great for customers.

Controversy and Humor

The ad is airing on TV, Radio, YouTube, and everywhere else on the internet. Part of what’s fueling its viral success is that it is getting both admiration and condemnation. I’m certainly in the admiration boat, and I suppose I can see why people think the family friendly Kmart name shouldn’t be indulging in immature word-plays. But really, we’re all quite immature and to deny that is ridiculous. Kmart’s marketing team realized this and they weren’t afraid to go all out with #shipmypants.

Even Twitter users on Vine are getting into the whole #shipmypants movement. A quick search on my Vine app brought up quite a few videos, all of which promote Kmart’s name and brand. Free advertising is always good. This is yet another example of how an underdog can use social media and the internet to rise above the chatter and really make an impact on customers.

Kmart’s Solution?

I don’t know if one viral ad will bring a great deal of success to Kmart, but if this is a sign of what their marketing team is capable of, and they can keep it up, it could be the beginning of a very successful campaign. I’m sure it’s going to help Kmart though. I rarely shop there or at their competitors, but one simple YouTube video has made me leave a mental footnote in my head recognizing Kmart’s cleverness and desire to entertain their customers. Job well done, Kmart.

What do you think about #shipmypants? Is it hilarious? Effective? Or is it worthless and immature?