Hope Springs Eternal: Cme Puts Celebrities On The Road To Kmart

Bob Hope makes a rare cameo in a TV commercial from Campbell Mithun Esty, Minneapolis, backing the “Big Kmart” store concept introduced in April.
The 94-year-old comic anchors a spot in which all the Troy, Mich.-based retailer’s celebrity spokespeople and endorsers parade through a small town to herald the arrival of the new Big Kmart, an expanded version of the regular store.
The 60-second spot broke Oct. 26 in 20 markets where the new stores are located.
Filmed in Boonton, N.J., and directed by actress, director and Kmart spokeswoman Penny Marshall, the spot focuses on the startled reactions of the locals to the appearance of Kmart’s big names. Martha Stewart drives an 18-wheeler down the main street. Model Kathy Ireland jogs through town in tight-fitting workout garb–much to the delight of two male joggers, one of whom is so taken by the supermodel’s form that he runs into a tree.
Also on hand are the cast of Sesame Street, actress Jaclyn Smith and auto racing magnate Roger Penske. Stewart backs an eponymous line of Kmart home furnishings; Smith, Ireland and Sesame Street are linked to its fashion lines; and Penske’s name is on the chain’s auto centers.
Hope appears in the final scene, reading a paper at the local diner. “Big Kmart,” he says. “This is big!” He then scoots out of the diner via fast-motion photography.
Since the concept was introduced, 650 of the chain’s 2,122 stores have become Big Kmarts.