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Kmart Says Yo Momma Is So Fiscally Responsible
By: Jennifer Graber
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If you listen closely you can almost hear the collective groans of students and teachers everywhere — not to mention the boisterous cheers of parents, too. That is right, folks; it is back to school time. Considering the school year seemingly just ended it is no wonder that many of us are sitting here in disbelief that it is once again time for new school supplies and clothes. After parents and guardians get over their initial elation they must then face the sticker shock of returning to school. Due to a variety of factors, such as the economy/rising costs, the cost of back to school can be monetarily difficult — especially for those already struggling with their finances (and really, who isn’t?). But one brand is aiming to make things just a bit easier on everyone when it comes to back to school shopping.
The big box retailer Kmart is reaching out to back-to-school shoppers in a fun and humorous way. Kmart released a clever commercial in which children on the playground spout "yo momma" jokes to each other about their school supplies and clothing. But these jokes are not the usual ones that poke fun at mothers. Featured jokes include “Did yo momma get that hoodie at Kmart? Well, she must have cavities because that hoodie is sweeeet” and “Yo momma is so fiscally responsible she got all that on free layaway." The overall purpose and theme of the cheeky commercial is to showcase the specials offered to Kmart’s Shop Your Way Rewards members during back to school shopping.
Kmart is offering its Shop Your Way Rewards members perks such as free layaway, pay in store service, free store pickup, and free shipping (when an item is unavailable in store). Kmart is also giving its rewards members access to special deals on clothing, backpacks, campus essentials, school supplies, and extra rewards points. The goal is to provide financial benefits by lessening the burden of those who might be feeling the strain. The ad has received some backlash over the content — some feel it stereotypes particular cultures, while others say that particular activity and slang is not limited to one culture. Is this true across the board? Or is it simply a case of "you cannot please everyone"? Despite its negative comments, the ad has also received some positive feedback. But is it enough?
Kmart, as we all know, has been struggling for quite some time. And it recently showed yet another fiscal quarter sales decline (the sixth one in a row). The brand is not quite ready to ring the bell and take itself out of the fight just yet. In fact, it has made attempts to turn its tactics around. In recent times Kmart has reached out to the humorous side in people with commercials such as this one, and its Ship My Pants and Big Gas Savings ads. The brand really does seem to be trying to embrace its low-cost stance in a new way.
How do these ads affect your view of Kmart? Do you believe the back-to-school measures will be enough to pull in shoppers for the brand? And will you be doing any back-to-school shopping at Kmart because of these special offers for Shop Your Way Rewards members? Or does this ad, and/or its content, make you want to run the other way?
Whether or not these new ads will make a meaningful impact for Kmart remains to be seen. The back-to-school season and Kmart’s approach has the potential to bolster the brand to the next step in getting back on track.
And on a related note — be sure to wish all the teachers and educational professionals the best of luck for the upcoming school year. Thanks for all you do!


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About the Author
Jennifer Graber is a Business Development Manager and marketing enthusiast. Her specific interests include branding, consumer behavior, development, integrated marketing communications, and new & social media.
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