Kmart Launches Joe Boxer from a Cannon

Jul 25, 2002

Kmart Corp. plans to launch two men dressed in Joe Boxer clothing and underwear from a cannon in the parking lot of one its anchor stores in Detroit, reports the New York Times. The stunt signifies the start of a new advertising campaign to revive the struggling Joe Boxer brand, which Kmart now exclusively distributes. Starting on Sunday, four television commercials will be broadcast featuring college-age men and women dancing around in their Joe Boxers.

The ads, designed by the TBWA/Chiat/Day advertising agency, are reminiscent of campaigns that use beautiful young models in trendy environments by retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch, the Gap and Ralph Lauren, according to Burt Flickinger III, a managing director at Reach Marketing, a consulting firm that monitors retail stores. The Joe Boxer campaign is aimed at men and women between the ages of 14 and 34, where Kmart typically targets married woman, age 35 to 45, with children.

In other Kmart news, the Detroit Free Press reports that more layoffs are likely at Kmart as it strives to boost sales that remain sluggish. The company reported a net loss of $137 million in June, compared to May’s reported loss of $96 million. Al Koch, the company’s chief financial officer, says that Kmart is conducting department-by-department reviews to come up with a plan for further tightening. Kmart closed 283 stores, with 22,000 layoffs this Spring.

Kmart’s June loss included a net $12 million attributable to its restructuring under Chapter 11 bankruptcy. That included expenses of $11 million spent on professional fees, eight million dollars in retention payments under a “key employee retention program,” and three million dollars in other expenses. These were offset by a gain of $10 million from the settlement of 10 leases among the stores that Kmart closed this year.

Moderator Comment: Is Kmart’s focus on younger consumers with Joe Boxer a solid marketing strategy for the chain?

Again, we’re afraid this is a case of too little to late.
Changing the hearts and shopping habits of younger consumers is going to take
an on-going branding effort. We’re not sure Kmart has the time or resources
needed. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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