Kmart To Finally Ditch Racially Segmented Ad Campaigns

So, you know that axiomatic line of the Constitution where it says that all men are created equal? Turns out the marketing people at Kmart had been ignoring that for years.

Advertising Age reports that Kmart’s holiday advertising campaign will use an approach that integrates the people it used to segment. For the most part, those segments were restricted to race, and the massive chain store didn’t realize it until people of Hispanic descent started snapping up the Jaclyn Smith clothing label, which hadn’t traditionally been advertised to them.

When its chief marketing officer Mark Snyder noticed this trend, he got curious and wanted to get to the bottom of the phenomenon.

Kmart was, it turned out, presenting separate creative briefs to its agency DraftFCB, as well as referring to the groups as completely separate segments internally. For its agency, that meant receiving a brief for the general market, one for the Hispanic market, one for the African-American market, and so on.

Snyder said that initially, this strategy made sense because it would better serve each community by factoring in “cultural nuances” with separate campaigns. But Snyder realized that the store was also wasting money by creating what were essentially the same campaigns and targeting them at different races. This separate but equal mentality was inefficient, costly, and more than a little racist. Now, Kmart has done away with the separate briefs and has consolidated them into one that will target all people regardless of race.

The result of this is a massive holiday advertising campaign featuring over 90 models from a variety of racial backgrounds. Images of different families of people, whether all white or all black or composed of mixed races, will target one collective audience of human beings with gifts to buy for the holidays.

Is the one-size-fits-all mentality a good thing? Yes, but Snyder says the company will still run campaigns that reach across the language barrier. Still, the overriding theme of the general holiday campaign will be “everybody celebrates differently, and the way you choose to celebrate is the right way.”

All we can say is that it’s about damn time.

[Via Advertising Age]

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