‘Ship My Pants’ How far can you push humor in your marketing campaign?

Just the other day my 12 year old niece said to me, “Did you see the ‘ship my pants’ video?” “What?!” I said. I thought she said something inappropriate as she giggled her little heart out. Kmart’s ‘Ship My Pants’ commercial has instantly gone viral and hasn’t event hit the airways yet. The commercial promotes free shipping on items that are out of stock in stores.

Is the video hilarious? I say, yes. Is it appropriate? That depends on who you ask. Some people think that it is childish and some have gone as far to say that it is vulgar. But here’s the good thing, people are talking about it. When was the last time you can remember Kmart making such a memorable impact. Wether you think that it is funny or not you will remember that if you don’t find it in the store, Kmart will ship it to you for free.

The way they decided to get the message across is a little risky. However, in today’s world, I believe that an edgy sense of humor is more acceptable by the general public. Have you ever joked around while trying to promote a product? How far can you push humor in your marketing campaign?

8 Ways to Promote with Fun and Humor

  1. Create a clever punch line that is memorable or relatable. 
  2. Get your customers involved by having a contest. For example, ask them to send in funny photos or videos.
  3. Create a cartoon or comedic character that represents your brand. For example, remember the Dunkin Donuts guy? “Time to make the doughnuts!”
  4. Think of fun and non-traditional ways to use your product.
  5. Produce a silly song or dance.
  6. Create an online game. Have users solve a puzzle or riddle before receiving a promotion.
  7. Come up with a tongue twister for your advertisement. They are always fun.
  8. Add a fun giveaways like stress balls, promotional games and toys. Fun stuff will make them smile.

Things to Remember When Marketing with Humor

You have to be careful when you are trying to incorporate comedy into your ad. Try not to be too controversial, you don’t want to create a negative impact. Be sensitive to your audience. Don’t let the humor over power your message. Make sure that your promotional message is clear. Test out your fun ideas first to make sure that it’s safe to launch.

What funny ads do you remember? Did they get the idea across? What kind of reaction did they receive?

23 thoughts on “‘Ship My Pants’ How far can you push humor in your marketing campaign?

  1. I had not seen this video yet Susan but it’s a great example of online marketing. I can’t think of a funny ad that I’ve seen recently but for some reason the “United Breaks Guitars” video that surfaced back in July of 2009 popped into my head. It wasn’t a United ad but it sure was effective. That one video was responsible for United stock plunging by 10% and costing their shareholders $180 million. If a business is lucky enough to get a video like KMart’s to go viral, it can be around for years.
    Sherryl Perry recently posted…How to Use Facebook Fan Gate to Get New LikesMy Profile

  2. LOL! Funny, I enjoyed the ad and yes, I haven’t even said the word Kmart in years but I will mention this ad to others. I guess it really depends on your sense of humor just how far an ad can go before someone is offended and face it, now a days someone is offended by just about anything. Their is a fine line but I don’t feel Kmart crossed that line… it was funny yet witty nothing I would hide from my children. It’s a very different world now and kids are much more aware than we were at their age so I think advertising can be a little edgier it’s the world we live in.

  3. This is a really great post. Humor can be a fine line and it’s hard to know where that line is.

  4. Regardless of how you feel about the ad. They have accomplished what they set out to do. Awareness and conversation about Kmart will drive business. You have got to be elated.

    My of my favorite ads was/is the hot sauce and exploding mosquito. It made it point is a very cool way. 🙂
    Susan Cooper recently posted…Two Easy Fondant Recipes: RecipeMy Profile

  5. I like the ideas in this article. I still remember the “Where’s the Beef” campaign that Burger King did in the 80’s. The idea came across that they had nice size burgers and at the time McDonalds and Wendy’s had to re-evaluate their own advertisements. Funny ads can be a great marketing tool as long as they are PC (politically correct).

  6. This reminds me of the Booking.com commercial where they use “booking” to replace the ‘F’ word. I think we’re all a little too sensitive these days about pretty much everything and if we weren’t theres be much funnier advertisements. I mean, kids wouldn’t even pick up on most of the stuff.
    Kelly Wade recently posted…Can You Workout Your Face?My Profile

  7. Classic. Just on the edge of ……..appropriate! and as you say, its enough to get people talking. In australia years ago we had a commercial for Toyota pickups (utes in Aussie talk) and a dog was trying to jump on the back – missed and said “bugger” which is aussie for “ship” so to speak. It caused offence as in the old testament I believe it was of course taken more literally than us aussies take it. Hence some were offended! but it was talked about
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  8. The ad definitely made me laugh, and even though it is vulgar, it is garnering attention for Kmart. But will I shop at Kmart? No. They’re not even on my radar. Given how hilarious the ad is, I can foresee more potty-humor adds in works…
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  9. Beer commercials come to mind for this type of advertising. Sometimes they are funny, sometimes they are borderline risque. The sad part is most of the time commercials like this do little to tell us about the actual product. They come across more as a ploy.

    In our world today, sure ploys can get your name known and remembered but they do little to build a relationship. Repeat sales come when you build a relationship with your customer base.
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  10. Great video! Humour has to be appropriate to the client – as a creative director once told me, the Three Stooges make you laugh, but you wouldn’t trust them with your financials! But if it’s done right – as it is here – it can really boost a brand!

  11. I agree that all of those ideas can be incorporated to add fun and humor to adds to make them memorable, but some should come with a warning. There is one furniture commercial that drives me insane because they dance to awful music and the dancing is horrible. When done in taste, dancing and music can be done well and made useful. Although I do have to say the commercial is so awful it is memorable so I guess it served its purpose.
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