Can a clever commercial really help your brand?

Kmart-Logo2Good old KMart. I remember my grandmother taking me there when I was a kid. The blue light specials. The cafe in the back of the store with popcorn and Icees. The only section I really cared about was the toy section.

Since then, I don’t think I’ve been in a KMart more than a handful of times. It never seemed to keep up with the Joneses – it never had the massive marketing machine of WalMart or the coolness factor of Target.

So it languished. Stores closed. It was acquired by Sears. In terms of brand cache, it had very little.

Then it did something interesting. It made a couple of clever commercials – the “shipped my pants” series of spots. They were well written, well shot and did what they were meant to do: get people talking about KMart again. The spots won awards.

Now, another brand is using a clever spot to increase its awareness and try to improve its recognition: Value City Furniture.

Growing up in northwest Pennsylvania, Value City was a staple, featuring off-price merchandise, close-outs and more.  Even though the Value City chain closed in the late 2000’s, the furniture chain carries on, competing with large local and national furniture chains.

They recently launched a new series of spots that are clever, the best of which I’ve embedded below.

This other spot is funny, but doesn’t make me laugh the way the one above does.

These spots stand out because they aren’t touting a sale, flashing huge prices on the screen or telling this is the biggest event of the season, they’re establishing and reinforcing the brand for those customers who are already familiar with it.

Am I going to go out tomorrow and buy a chaise? Maybe not, but VCF has succeeded in getting me to watch the spots a dozen times on YouTube and write this blog post. Nicely done.