Kmart Prepares to Launch ‘Real Life’ Campaign

Despite filing for bankruptcy last week, Kmart is moving forward with a new advertising campaign set to break in mid-February, sources said.

The dual effort from TBWA\Chiat\Day, New York, and Don Coleman Advertising, Southfield, Mich., introduces a new tagline, “Kmart. For real life,” sources said. Previous ads focused on brand names and prices.

TV spots still in production focus on what “real life means to shopping moms,” whom Kmart is targeting with its marketing efforts, one source said.

TBWA\C\D’s work was directed by Spike Lee via his 40 Acres and a Mule production company. Lee shot at least four spots in New York last week, said sources. TBWA\C\D and Don Coleman declined comment.

Kmart’s previous tag, “Blue light always,” will likely be discontinued, sources said. Kmart’s former president and COO, Mark Schwartz, who left the firm shortly before the bankruptcy filing, was that effort’s champion.

In a statement released following the bank ruptcy announcement, Kmart CEO Charles Conaway said proceedings would include “investing in key merchandising and marketing initiatives to enhance Kmart’s strategic positioning as the authority for what moms value.”

A Kmart representative said the decision to shift its ad approach was made prior to the bankruptcy filing. “It focuses on a brand-positioning message,” the rep said. Sources indicated that the client approved the new work before Christmas.

The discount retailer last week filed voluntary petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11. In its filings in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago, Kmart indicated that it plans to emerge from Chapter 11 in 2003.

During the restructuring, ven dors, suppliers and other business partners, including ad agencies, will be paid under normal terms for goods and services provided during the reorganization.