Kmart and Draft FCB’s “shippy” commercial delivers boffo results along with controversy.
April 16, 2013
With nearly 9 million views as of this writing, K-Mart’s “Ship my Pants” commercial by Draft FCB is a hit. Conceptually, it’s a one trick pony, and a dirty one at that. The word ship gets punned with the word shit. Over and over again.
Still, by any definition the film has gone viral, its viewers increasing by the minute. Pretty special given how many (and I mean many) similar efforts by other advertisers drop then sink like stones. Clearly, a ship-ton of people watched the film. Judging the work by sheer numbers, it gets an “A.” How could it not?
Creatively speaking, I’m not so sure. Funny or not, is it good advertising for Kmart? Will any of those 9 million viewers actually relate to and/or respond to Kmart’s underlying message? Shipping out of stock pants to shoppers who are in the store seems like table stakes. Won’t the Gap do that?
Back to the concept. To quote an ambivalent fan commenting on a popular trade blog, the spot is “funnyish.” Typical smart-ass troll. But the “ish” is a deserved barb. We laugh when the first actor says, “I’ll ship my pants.” Then a bunch of other folks say it. By the time a small boy reads the line we’re grimacing. Punishment.
Another thing, a close variation of this ‘almost swearing’ concept has already been done (repeatedly) by Orbit Gum. Cleaning a dirty mouth.
This being the age of iteration, we tend to overlook such issues. Case in point the California Powerball campaign discussed HERE last week. Still, the Orbit work was literally the first thing I thought of when I saw the K-mart spot. I don’t want to be thinking about another campaign when viewing new creative.
This brings me to my last point. Insiders like myself are quick to judge (often harshly) the work of certain hot button accounts and, in particular advertising agencies. Draft FCB is at the top of this list. Which is unfair. The makers of this commercial don’t deserve negative scrutiny. They did interesting work, delivering impressive results. We should all be this shippy.
Update: Spot going on TV. http://adage.com/article/news/kmart-s-sophomoric-ship-pants-video-air-tv/240934/