Ailing Chains Launch Marketing Campaigns

Mar 26, 2002

In the continued struggle to identify themselves, Kmart Corp. and Gap Inc. have launched new marketing campaigns.

Kmart’s new campaign targets black and Hispanic shoppers. Multicultural consumers make up 39 percent of the chain customers each week, with blacks and Hispanics making up 32 percent of its shoppers.

The campaign, which will be released in stages, begins with radio advertising in markets with a strong black consumer presence. The 30- and 60-second spots feature original music by Chaka Khan and BeBe Winans. In the coming weeks, television commercials will be released in black and Hispanic markets, with Spanish-language spots featuring music by Jose Feliciano. The TV ads are to launch April 7.

Meanwhile, Gap Inc. is running advertisements of a 40-something actor and an aging sculptor, among other offbeat celebrities in an attempt to turn around nearly two years of declining sales. The advertisements’ vagary has opened questions about the campaign’s message.

“It’s a tough world out there. Gap has been suffering from a lack of knowing who they are and what makes them different,” said Jack Trout, a marketing expert and author of “Big Brands, Big Trouble.” Grade-B celebrities are not going to help either, he adds.

Moderator Comment: Are retailers such as Gap Stores
and Kmart demonstrating that they have learned from past marketing, merchandising
and management mistakes?

Message to The Gap

March 25, 2002

Actual consumer shopping experience

A couple prepares to exit the Gap when they notice
a couple of very large and well-photographed posters.

Man: Who is that guy with Angelica Huston?

Woman: I have no idea. Who is that guy in the other

Man: Haven’t a clue.

Message to Kmart

Regardless of the language or the backing tracks on
the commercials, this campaign does nothing to separate you from the competition.

Anderson – Moderator

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