Kmart Is First Out of the Gate With Holiday Ads — In September

by Steven Perlberg, The Wall Street Journal

It’s hot out. The autumnal equinox isn’t for another two weeks. But holiday advertising, complete with Santa Claus, fireplaces and snowmen, is already here.

Kmart is first retailer out of the gate this year with a new ad promoting its layaway program. The ad, entitled “Ridiculous,” pokes fun at how crazy it seems to start thinking about the holidays this early.

“We understand it’s ridiculous to think about Christmas now,” says “Kmart Kelly” in the 30-second commercial, before listing reasons why doing so, as it turns out, is “ridiculously awesome.”

“Layaway contracts are typically 8-12 weeks. This timing gives our members opportunity to put away those hot toys, apparel, electronics, etc. –manage their budgets and get them in time for Christmas,” a Kmart spokesperson said in an email.

Between Sept. 1 and Sept. 7, Kmart spent more than $675,000 on media time for the ads, according to ad-tracker Kantar Media. Spots have appeared on 16 different TV networks and also in national syndication programming, Kantar Media said.

The creeping of ads earlier and earlier has been a familiar trend in advertising for the past few years, as retailers jostle for consumer intention in an increasingly competitive shopping environment.

This is Kmart’s second straight year as the first retailer to promote its holiday offerings. Last year’s campaign, a similar layaway promotion, started at the same time, according to Kantar Media. In 2013, Home Depot was the first holiday advertiser starting on Sept. 5, followed by Kmart on Sept. 10. In 2012, Kmart did not begin its holiday advertising until Oct. 26, according to Kantar Media.

The new ads come as sales continue to struggle at Kmart-owner Sears Holdings Corp. Same-store sales were down 6.9% at Kmart in the second quarter as of July 25.

View the original article from The Wall Street Journal