Making Kmart irresistible

ant shannonIn this guest post, creative director Ant Shannon argues that low prices don’t need to mean cheap advertising, as his work for Kmart demonstrates.

When I was first asked to work on a new campaign for Kmart I had hesitations.

Sometimes when a brand just wants to push itself as cheap, unfortunately that’s what the advertising can turn out like.

But on meeting with the Kmart team, their infectious enthusiasm to do something good won me over.

I was up for the challenge to do something people would love.

As marketing manager Dion Workman said, “We want people to turn left when they enter the shopping centre”

The tracking and consumer feedback on the brand showed that loyal customers loved shopping the brand. But, although they knew how good the product was, they were reluctant to tell others that they shopped there.

Mothers loved shopping Kmart, as you could give the kids $10 and they could buy heaps of stuff. Young singles and couples knew you could set up home with great stuff, that looked like you’d bought the latest in contemporary appliances and home wares.

But how do create a campaign that allows people to become outspoken Kmart brand fans?

I started by going through the Kmart catalogues.

One product that caught my eye was the swim shorts. They looked like expensive Gant shorts and they were only $5.

$5! What an unbelievable price.

What made them come up with that price, surely they could have sold them for

$9? At what point did the price not really matter?

Well, it was the perception of the Kmart brand of course that had a big influence on why people didn’t want to rush in and buy some.

To people who didn’t shop the store regularly, the Kmart marketing and its logo (this was unchangeable) was what influenced them.

The DDS battleground was being fought purely on price.

Kmart had been running a campaign that was effective in letting people know they were cheap.

Hundreds of mums walking around the store discovering that the prices were cheaper than they imagined.

But that was only reinforcing what we knew. It was playing in the rational territory of a ‘$10 all you can eat’ restaurant.

Plus, the tracking feedback was that mums thought it was starting to portray them as dumb on price knowledge.

I knew from my years on Just Jeans and Portmans that the customers at Westfield had a pretty good knowledge of which stores operated in which price brackets.

Kmart had indicated their desire for something new, something that would make their product and the brand more desirable.

We had been playing around with a few proposition lines, but it wasn’t till I fashioned ‘We make low prices irresistible’ that we thought we had something that could work.

Over the summer, a lot of my friends commented on the Apple ‘Bounce’ ad for the iPod.

They loved the way it was infectious in a kind of colour and movement way.

Sort of like the Telly Tubbies for adults.

Apple has had a long history with promoting and worshiping great design

I thought that maybe we could use the same elements they use, to make the Kmart product ‘Irresistible’.

So, we looked at ways of using CGI to make the products look great. (One of the benefits you get from multiplying the product is the sub text that you can buy more than one, at that price!)

We also went deep into a search for an infectious music track – Bom Bom by British group Sam and the Womp.

So there it was, a campaign where we used cool modern computer imaging techniques to make the product look amazing, plus a track that importantly captured the fun and excitement of a smart purchase decision.

The price is still there in the ads but it’s handled in a smarter way, and it’s done in a way that acknowledges the consumer awareness of price brackets.

Kmart now feels like a cooler more self-assured brand.

The sales of course are where it happens, and the campaign with the roll out of upgraded stores is working

I’m happy to say that Kmart is experiencing irresistible store growth.

  • Ant Shannon is creative director of Shannon & Co. He worked on the Kmart project on behalf of BWM

Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.