Can Kmart's "Blue" Light Special Ads Turn Us On For The Holidays? [Videos]

With Kmart's revenue reports heading into the toilet, it appears its TV ads might have followed suit this holiday season. Down 4.6 percent in earnings this quarter, one of the nation's largest discount retailers is taking a radical departure from it's wholesome Mom's Apple Pie image to one that replicates the blue material you might catch on late night, a la Chelsea Lately!

Jon FlanneryJon FlanneryCreated by a modern-day Mad Man, Jon Flannery heads up a team at DraftFCB/Chicago agency, as their executive creative director. Someone who surely might have shared a scotch or two with Don Draper in the day, Flannery is responsible for producing three of the hottest global viral hits ever to hit the airwaves for its client, Kmart.


In all three cases, the use of double entendre was used effectively to allow potential consumers to understand the ads' tag lines in either of two ways -- one PG and the other... well, perhaps bordering X-rated.

It's an innovative combination of ad copy, acting, direction and editing that manages to make viewers think they are hearing something rather off-color, when in fact they are repeatedly hearing the simple line repeated over and over again, garnering more laughs with each reiteration.


Flannery's goal with these ads was to modernize Kmart's stodgy-stuck-in-the-last-century perception to one that was hip and current. The solution came first just a couple of months ago in the form of a 30-second commercial called "Ship My Pants," which, creatively speaking, is dissimilar to anything TV and even YouTube viewers had seen with conservative retail operations in the past - as evidenced by its 19+ million views.


Based on that success, Flannery upped the ante by rolling out yet another equally witty and risqué play on words. Titled "Big Gas Savings," (with the obvious misinterpretation of 'big a$$ savings'), this commercial has currently tallied over 6 million views on YouTube to date.

While some social media types have critiqued the commercials as vulgar, Flannery and team members Howie Ronay and Sean Burns justify their acquiescence to scatological humor as a common denominator that people from all walks of life can relate to. "I think this work makes people really feel something viscerally," noted Flannery.


However, not content to live off their laurels, Kmart asked Flannery to come up with some additional blue material which resulted in the agency producing the now infamous "Show Your Joe" spot, this past week. This time, working in a co-branded cross-promotional arrangement with the men's brief company, Joe Boxer, six men dressed in tuxes on the top and boxers on the bottom had just enough clothing to hide their own personal "Jingle Bells." However nothing is lost on the viewing audience, as they are witness to these gents swaying their junk to chime out the ole' holiday standard.


Titillating? Sophomoric? Silly? Or a smart strategic move? The jury is out on these ads and only time will tell if this kind of buzz will turn off or turn on this year's holiday shoppers. Paired with a  truncated holiday calendar this year, with six fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, retailers are doing anything they can to beat their competition.

Your thoughts readers?  Are Kmart's Blue Light Specials enough to make you shop naughty versus nice this holiday season? Or do you think 'shopping their way' has crossed the line?

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Ron Callari
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