Thursday, September 12, 2013

Kmart Breaks the Seal on Christmas 2013 Advertising

…and just like that, the love affair with Kmart advertising ended.

The retail bottom-feeder has recently enjoyed a run of accolades over its refreshing commercial spots. <<Quick Rewind: First it was ‘Ship my Pants’ and ‘Big-Gas Discounts’ – then a string of Back-to-School spots featuring playground rhymes and crimes of retro 90s fame (The “Yo-Mama” dis spots being my personal favorite).
First to climb up the 2013 tree!
But with over 100 days till Christmas (that’s right, the countdown still beats in the TRIPLE digits) the same army of “Don’t rush the season!” scrooges that usually have to wait until early-October to rise up are absolutely LOSING IT!

Here’s the spot:

Cool it, perma-bah humbugs.

I can’t imagine the piles of coal Santa must have left in your childhood stockings; y’all are NEVER happy to see the holidays! The spot doesn’t reek of holiday cheer – just a few faint bells and a scantily clad cookie. It’s not an overrun exposé of buy, BUY, BUY! but a subtler, non-specific “calm before the storm” reminder to start planning now so that you (and your wallet) aren’t over extended closer to year-end.

And, you gotta understand Kmart’s position.

The retailer has been playing second fiddle to Target and Walmart for far too long (wait – that analogy doesn’t even begin to describe the magnitude of the situation… more like trying to play a microscopic fiddle without a bow and the fiddle has been stepped on a few times). Now, for the first time in years ever people are actually taking notice of their ads, they’ve got to make the first appeal to holiday shoppers; opportunity knocks!

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), 12% of consumers begin their holiday shopping before September, 6% during and another 20% kick it off in October.

And while the stock market continues to surge, consumers are still wary from a frugal 2009/2010.

Getting out in front of the others with a campaign that reminds shoppers of expanded layaway promotions isn’t just smart; it’s k(s)mart!

…No? I’ve used that corny play on words too many times before?
OK, it’s brilliant!

While Kmart’s ad sets a new high-watermark for “Christmas Creep” – they’re expanding the retailer role in providing joy under the tree. Kmart doesn’t just want to be the place you run for door-busting specials, they want to work with you and help budget throughout the entire holiday shopping process.

Great move, guys. (The spot could have been just a bit funnier, though. The cookie’s creep factor is at 3 – it needs to be at like a 7-8 (aka Burger King ‘King’-creepy)). :P

Thursday, September 5, 2013

29 hopefuls and one new Yahoo!

When former Google Exec Marissa Mayer took the helm as CEO at Yahoo! last July, a skeptic Silicon Valley was put on high alert.

13 months of moderate alterations to both corporate and site services structure are now behind us.  On the highlight reel we have a cease-and-desist on telecommuting, an emboldened maternity program, and now, the first major brand refresh since (basically) the search engine’s founding nearly two decades ago (19 years already, can you believe it?!).

A logo reveal THIS BIG deserves a PARADE!


Still, Yahoo! insisted on building a (purple) mountain out of a mole hill, ‘floating’ 29 different looks by us.  One per day, the march of violet wore on so long that even I (the most logo-obsessed marketer you’ll ever know) grew tired of waiting.

Seriously, though – a month-long build up FOR THIS?
Some Parade! Macy’s Santa knows, if you’re the last one, you have to really SELL IT! Yahoo’s new logo may as well be one of the clowns that go by at the end collecting horse poo.

Ok, no need to get so dramatic, Dan.
It’s just if you’re going to build hype – you gotta be prepared to deliver the goods!

Look – the new logo isn’t bad as far as logo evolutions go. The former was starting to feel a bit campy.  It recalled the days just before the (first) internet bubble burst, when goofy nerds dreamt up things the rest of us didn’t even know we needed.  

This new mark respects the company’s heritage while following the widespread trend towards simple, clean, mobile-friendly lines.  And, to connect with my previous points on the former, it better aligns with the state of the web today:

From nerdy, social pariah to hipster-cool intellectual, the tech industry has transformed.

Today’s brand is mature, smart and sophisticated; bold and cutting edge (at least by comparison). And it possesses some well thought-out subtleties (i.e. no straight lines) and nuances (the varied sizing of the ‘o’s pay tribute to the brands signature ‘yodel’).

Changing of the royal (purple) guard.

Perhaps the biggest change is the new variety of violet. While it feels more grown up, I can’t shake the notion its better suited behind the makeup counter at Sephora or in the feminine hygiene aisle at Target. It’s just too dainty to represent a juggernaut internet company.

Evolution not a Revolution

I reiterate, new Yahoo! did NOT deserve a parade.

Seriously, if you take a look at the 29 teasers that came before it, we pretty much had it day one (OK, and maybe a little day 10).

Ah well.  Who really sees it anyways? What, with such a hectic page design?...
Can de-cluttering be next on the agenda, guys?
Banimation Domination!

All the ad revenue in the world isn’t worth the shame of subjecting viewers to distracting ads. Come on, Yahoo! -- you're better than this.
(Banimation: banner ad + animation – thanks to Jeremy for the ever-so-perfect name!).