Kmart Seeks Coolness Through Association

May 21, 2004

By George Anderson

Kmart wants to be cool. That’s right. You heard it here. Kmart wants to be cool.

That’s why the retailer hooked up with The WB network on an exclusive deal that will have stars from popular shows such as 7th Heaven, One Tree Hill and Reba wearing Kmart private-labels Thalia, Route 66, Joe Boxer, Athletech and Gear 7.

Over a dozen stars will appear in Kmart back-to-school advertising in addition to wearing the fashions on shows. Kmart is reportedly spending $30 million to promote its back-to-school line on television, print, radio, outdoor and in theaters.

Paul Guyardo, senior vice president, chief marketing officer of Kmart, said in a released statement, “We’re thrilled to be working with The WB and their bright young stars. They’ve truly helped us bring to life the quality and style of our all-new, exclusive back-to-school collections. The WB is a fantastic marketing partner and we look forward to seeing this campaign come to life.”

Lew Goldstein, co-president of marketing for the television network said, “The WB brand is something we guard very carefully, so first and foremost, we were knocked out by the new creative vision that Paul and his group at Kmart presented us. Peggy Sirota is a world-class photographer, so we knew our actors would be presented in a stylish and artistic manner, which they are. That, coupled with the massive scope of Kmart’s print, outdoor and television buy and their willingness to make this a collaborative process, sealed the deal for us. We couldn’t be happier.”

Moderator’s Comment: What are your thoughts on Kmart’s deal with The WB?

Give Kmart its props for taking a real shot at remaking its image. The retailer worked directly with The WB to create fashions deemed hip enough to look
like they belong on prime time. The chain said it plans to maintain discount store pricing on its lines even if it has gone Hollywood.

George Anderson – Moderator

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