For several years, retailers have sought to get an earlier and earlier jump on the competition with ads and promotions for the Christmas holiday selling season. Kmart has pushed the timeline even further this year with commercials promoting its holiday layaway program 105 days before Christmas.
The retailer, which has gained some attention in recent months for humorous spots including "Ship My Pants," employs a giant gingerbread man visual appearing out of the blue behind a woman in an office setting along with a voiceover that says, "Don't let the holidays sneak up on you. Shop early with Kmart free layaway."
Last year, Target took some criticism for running its first holiday commercials early in October to let consumers know about its new price match policy that went into effect on November 1.
With its commercial, it appears as though Kmart may have put "Christmas Creep" on PEDs. A small number of people took to Kmart's Facebook page to protest the promotion.
Others, however, came to the chain's defense. One woman wrote, "Some of us need early preparation for financial reasons and so we're not caught up in the crazy holiday shopping season."
"There are limited budgets today, and retailers are aware of that," Kathy Grannis, a spokesperson for the National Retail Federation, told Advertising Age. "Consumers are spending wisely, so reminding them about layaway is smart. It's not just about saying we've got great specials. It's about helping them with their holiday budgets."
Are consumers paying attention or tuning out early commercials for the holiday season?