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Kmart's 'Big Gas Savings'
By: Lakai Newman
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From the moment we’ve possessed the mental capacity to turn on a television, we’ve been bombarded with images, products, and ideas practically every minute we spend awake. We can recognize and recite company slogans and jingles faster than we can order our beloved venti, non-fat, no foam, extra hot, chai tea latte. As advertisers struggle for new material, we often find the end result straddling the very fine line of “cool” and “uncool."

After all this time, we’ve become so numb to the hypersexualized celebrities, unrealistic food entrees, and cheesy gimmicks that anything that forces us to do a double take immediately becomes subject to suspicion and foul play. Why have we become so sensitive about items that are meant to invoke a sense of humor? Are we unable to appreciate advertising for the sake of good intention and delivery? 

Advertisers are constantly encouraged to think outside the box, but slapped on the wrist for straying too far. Why utilize sarcasm when sex is so much easier to sell? Provoke discussion? Leave a lasting impression? Definitely a no-no. Keep it simple, clean, and new.

Despite the controversy that it created, Kmart’s “Ship My Pants” commercial went viral. Bringing in over 12 million views in the span of a week, the commercial was a brilliant play on words that resemble an everyday expletive. Riding the wave of its success, Kmart has recently released another video entitled “Big Gas Savings” which details how its rewards members can save 30 cents per gallon when filling up. This, too, offers a play on words as consumers bounce around the slogan while at their local gas station. 

These commercials are cheeky and cause you to smile (even if only on the inside). More importantly, these ads shatter the dated image of the brand and gives it a much needed jolt of energy. If all the above isn’t true, we can at least agree that these commercials grab your attention and spark conversation. Do they push the envelope too far? Perhaps for some, but this definitely beats the cliché jingles and monotonous storyline of its competitors. 

There are definitely ads out there that warrant a double take and a furious side-eye, but some things should be given their rightful credit. A little (well-placed) humor tied into pushing an otherwise boring topic serves the purpose of breaking up your mundane lineup. Appreciate it. Go ahead, smile... laugh, even. Then by all means, turn back to your regular programming of airbrushed actors and lifeless ads.

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About the Author

Lakai Newman is a critical-thinking advertising and marketing professional whose office space is at 38,000 feet. He has a passion for international travel, adventure, and the art of experience. His personal blog can be found here.

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