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Why Kmart’s Advertising Will Not Work

There is something magical about a great advertisement. A billboard worth tweeting about or a magazine page you rip out to show a friend. But Kmart's "Ship My Pants" commercial is ineffective because I'll still never shop there. Let me explain.

Kmart, in a bold and risque marketing move, recently introduced a commercial titled “Ship My Pants.” Take a look:

At first, I thought this commercial was brilliant. It caused me to share it with my wife, have a chuckle, and even write this blog. It has the appearance of something new and fresh from the most unexpected source – Kmart. Yet while I love this thoughtful advertising move, I believe this won’t be enough to turn around Kmart’s business. I have long given up on Kmart – prices worse than Walmart, dirty stores, poor customer service, and the list goes on. One cute commercial isn’t going to change my opinion of Kmart.

This leads me to my first point: your brand must reflect and position itself in its entirety in every experience. Every interaction with a brand should have the same message and same personality. If I have an amazing experience on Amazon.com, but then when the package arrives it is damaged, my opinion of that brand will be damaged (unless their great customer services makes it up to me). If you haven’t yet, I’d encourage to take a look at MailChimp’s Voice and Tone guide. It’s a wonderful reminder on keeping even the wording in a brand consistent across all communications.

A recent blog post on a similar topic: The Heart of Our Work

Remedying a bad experience depends on the severity of the situation. All that it may take is a helpful customer service person, or it may take months or years to trust the business again. It’s also important to point out that a bad experience may not be completely the fault of the isolated experience. For example, an error message at the incorrect time may result in an angry user; however, experiences earlier in that user’s day may be what’s really irritating them. Yet, that isolated experience may cause them to never use the app again. This is an important reminder to designers: every experience a user has matters: each mouse click, touch-screen gesture, or telling a friend about their experience – good or bad.

It is our responsibility to make sure each experience is incredible… magical.


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