A Look Back at Kmart’s “Ship My Pants” Campaign

Everybody likes a good laugh, right? Sometimes, we even like a good laugh when it comes from something sort of awkward and uncomfortable…even in advertising.

This was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt when the internet went ablaze with Kmart’s popular “Ship My Pants” commercial.

shipHow great was Kmart’s new delivery program? It was great. People in the commercial went on and on about how they were going to “ship their pants.” In truth, the commercial was very well done. It was funny and they got their point across in spades. The gimmick, of course, was that after enough people had said “ship” over and over again at a high rate of speed, it started to sound like a curse word.

Hence the humor.

But did it go overboard? Some feedback from the public found the commercial tasteless and vulgar. And, to be expected, others said the exact opposite, claiming the commercial to be brilliant and edgy.

In the end, the negative comments were well worth it. People now absolutely know what their free shipping services are all about. If wanted something shipped to your home—say, some pants—your brain likely goes directly towards Kmart is you saw this ad.

One ad expert at Mediapost.com summed it up perfectly. “It’s fourth grade humor but it makes you laugh. Never underestimate the power “of a doody joke.”

It’s also a form of “safe” humor. They are getting the implied word across without actually saying it. Further, it’s “potty” humor that is not offensive to anyone (other than extremely prudish parents).

More importantly in today’s advertising circles, the ad was shared by more than 18,000 Facebook users. Going viral is always a great accomplishment for advertising and in the case of Kmart’s Ship My Pants ad, it achieved that and everything else it set out to do.

What do you think? Was the ad a bit extreme or a rare bit of advertising genius?

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