Last Call, Kmart Shoppers?


So now what? It is a tall order for advertising to get consumers excited about a company analysts are predicting may not survive another year. With no additional investment in facilities or upgrade in its offerings or change in its pricing strategy; there is no news to celebrate. Interestingly enough, the bright spot last week when Sears Holding reported numbers was the news that Sears would accelerate the "externalization" of its brands. Sears Holding will allow some of its strongest brands, Craftsman, Kenmore and Die-hard to be sold in stores not owned by Sears Holding like Costco and Ace Hardware. This strategy is risky however and might serve only to hasten the demise of Sears and Kmart and force the hand of the company to focus on what Wall Street Analysts believe is the biggest asset anyway, the real estate.

I'm always humbled when I'm forced to admit that advertising and marketing can't solve every problem. But when you pull back from the problem it seems like a company with two strong brand names like Kmart and Sears, that together house a solid half-dozen consumer goods brands that are among the strongest in the world like Crafstman, Kenmore and Die-Hard should be able to figure out how to market to consumers who put a premium on value and proven performance. But then again ask Oldsmobile and Circuit City. Last one out shut off the blue Light.

This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.

Larry Woodard is a director on the Advertising Week board and chairman of the American Association of Advertising Agencies' New York Council.

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