Kmart Goes Back to School

“What up y’all, it’s dem kids again” is the intro to the newest Kmart back to school commercial. The commercial, which is in the form of a music video, is being called racist by it’s viewers and is causing a stir among consumers.  The ad features a young hip hop group called “Da Rich Kidzz” who rap about the newest back to school trends.  Kmart’s attempt to appeal to the popularity of today’s hip hop culture has actually done the opposite of what their marketing strategy intended to do.

The design of the commercial targeted a small demographic, causing their brand image to be misconstrued.  With the majority of the children in the video mimicking stereotypical rap video dancing and using incorrect grammar, it is easy to see how the message of the commercial could be misinterpreted.  Although it is safe to assume Kmart did not intentionally create the advertisement to bring negative light upon themselves, they are now faced with rebranding and reevaluating their marketing strategy.

With all of the current back to school advertisements out at this time of year, it makes us wonder why Kmart chose to go this route with this campaign. With lyrics containing slang and grammatical errors such as “dem” and “can’t no one pass,” Kmart made the attempt to draw in the youth who listen to hip hop. Instead of making themselves stand out in a youthful way among the traditional back to school commercials, they further narrowed their consumer base.

According to an article on Business Insider, Kmart’s brand has been suffering for the past six years.  After viewing the advertisement, would you be inclined to shop at Kmart for back to school items? Could this be Kmart’s last attempt to gain back a significant customer base? Seeing as how they have not made a public statement in response to the racial backlash, it will be interesting to see whether or not this campaign will pay off for Kmart.  To have a successful marketing campaign strategy, a business must always be able to recognize who their publics are.  They must also know that by alienating a certain demographic they have to expect that there will be positive and negative effects.

When all is said and done, Kmart was successful in being memorable.  However, will their sales, in turn, reflect in a positive way?

-Aaron Love, Kara Zimmerman, Rachel Clay, Rebecca Hobbs