Kmart Rolls Out Christmas Commercial That Insists: ‘This Is Not a Christmas Commercial’

'Merry birthday, everyone'

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Isn't it?

Less than a week after Labor Day, Kmart has launched a cheeky holiday spot from FCB Chicago touting its layaway program. The spokeswoman says, "This is not a Christmas commercial. However, let's say you have an event in late December that you need a lot of gifts for. Like, maybe your entire family is having a birthday on the same day. Now's the time to go to Kmart and put those gifts on layaway."

Meanwhile, a jolly fat man rides through the aisles on a reindeer-drawn sleigh (presumably he's not the appliance-department manager). And those fireplace logs crackling on the screens of the store's TV display look suspiciously "yule" to me.

It seems to be an attempt at disarming the same people who were angry at Kmart last year for airing a Christmas spot in September. Not doing so, after all, was not an option.

"We know it's early, and that is exactly when smart shoppers start thinking about using layaway for the holidays," says Jai Holtz, vp and general manager for financial services at Kmart parent Sears Holdings. "We are expanding no-money-down layaway nationwide to help members and customers who want to make small payments over time leading up the holidays."

Though a Christmas ad in early September is obnoxious, it's probably a smart move, since 40 percent of Americans do their holiday shopping before Halloween, according to the National Retail Federation.

Guess I should get to Kmart today and put plenty of junk—er, presents—on layaway. Joe Boxers for all, and to all a goodnight!

Oh, and before I forget … Happy New Year!

@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.