The Odd Couple

“A little out there for Kmart” is how marketing svp Steve Feuling describes the retailer’s sexy new TV spots from TBWA\Chiat\Day introducing its Joe Boxer line of clothing and home products. The same might be said of Nick Graham, founder and “chief underpants officer” of Joe Boxer.

A red-suited Graham arrived in style for a Joe Boxer fashion show at the Kmart on New York’s Astor Place last week, perched atop a con vert ible in a parade that featured the NYPD pipe and drum band playing “God Bless America.” Graham’s material veered from mild smut to overt sexual innuendo. “I used to drop my pants, but I’m older now,” he said of his entrance. Then, as teens modeled back-to-school fare (primarily short plaid skirts), Graham growled, “I’d sure like to go to this school.” And while presiding over a mock wedding of Joe Boxer and a ’50s-styled Kmart beauty, Graham asked, “Do you, Joe, take this woman as your wife, even though she has 1,800 stores and gets around a lot?” Buoyed by strong sales figures of late, Kmart CEO Jim Adamson seemed uncomfortable but forgiving.

Topping off the weird morning were the press materials, which included song lyrics based on Woody Guthrie’s anti-capitalist anthem “This Land Is Your Land”: “This brand is your brand/This brand is my brand/From California to the New York island/We’re now at Kmart, which keeps you smiling/This brand was made for you and me.” A bit of self-loathing from this bankruptcy filer, perhaps?