July 24th, 2008

Kmart Gets Kids to Create Ads

By Amy Johannes
PROMO Magazine

Kmart is giving teens a shot at 15 minutes of fame as part of a back-to-school effort with a contest that asks them to create a commercial showing off their style.

Kmart built a YouTube contest tied to ABC’s reality show “High School Musical: Get in the Picture.” In it, teens film a 30- to 60-second commercial that shows how their back-to-school style fits in the lives, and how Kmart helps them achieve it.

The grand prize winner will have his or her commercial aired during the “High School Musical: Get in the Picture” finale on Sept. 15. The winner will also receive a five-day trip to New York City to visit Kmart’s design center, a $1,000 Kmart gift card and a Flip Video Ultra camcorder.

Videos can be uploaded to http://www.Kmart.com/youtube or http://www.Youtube.com/kmart through Aug. 17. A panel of judges will narrow down the field of entries to 20 and let YouTube users choose their favorite starting Aug. 26 to Sept. 1. Submissions will be judged on the use of Kmart merchandise, originality and creativity and on the suitability of the footage to be shown as a brand commercial on national TV.

The promotion is the retailer’s latest effort to reach to teenagers, a new focus for the company, Andrew Stein, Kmart’s interim chief marketing officer, said. In the past, Kmart hasn’t had much of a dialogue with the crowd, he said.

But the online campaign and kitschy merchandise give the company new reason to talk to teenagers “in a relevant way,” Stein said.

“We have a reason to invite them into our stores this year,” he said. “In years past, we didn’t have much fashion and style. But we’ve upgraded the quality of our assortment to appeal to teenaged customers.”

Kmart is using in-store signage and its circulars to promote the show and the contest. In addition, it partnered with Google on search advertising and is running an online campaign focusing on teen-targeted sites.

Draftfcb, Kmart’s ad agency, handles the promotion, MPG is in charge of the media marketing and Media Contacts oversees the YouTube work.

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