In an unusual move, Kmart (NASDAQ:SHLD) aired its first holiday ad of the season on September 9, 106 days before Christmas. While other major U.S. retail chains may have Christmas merchandise in their stores, no others have yet launched national ad campaigns.
"This might give new meaning to the phrase, 'Christmas Creep.' It's anybody's game right now [and] the wheels are definitely in motion for a very promotional holiday season," Kathy Grannis, a spokeswoman for the National Retail Federation, told Ad Age. It is not surprising that Kmart wants to get a jump on holiday advertising, since the winter holidays account for nearly $580 billion in sales in the U.S.
Kmart's TV commercial features a large gingerbread man sneaking up on a woman in a cubicle, with a voiceover stating, "Don't let the holidays sneak up on you. Shop early with Kmart free layaway."
The Kmart TV ad campaign may lead other retail chains to launch their campaigns earlier than planned this year and next. "It will, by definition, create a slightly earlier cycle. As opposed to right before Halloween, it will have the impact of pulling the season up by a few weeks," Jonathan Symonds, executive VP of marketing at Ace Metrix, told Ad Age of the ad which ran six to eight weeks earlier than normal.
Last year, Target beat other major retailers to the bunch by airing a holiday commercial on October 7.
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