Kmart’s Branding Campaign Skips Ethnic Press

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By: Mark Fitzgerald

Kmart, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January and is closing 284 of its more than 2,100 stores, has budgeted $25 million for a “multicultural” ad campaign that targets its core African-American and Hispanic customers — but not a dime is going to black or Spanish-language newspapers.

“It’s so typical that [retailers] overlook Spanish-language newspapers and print, thinking that TV and radio will hit 95% of the Hispanic market,” said Michael Vinales, national sales manager for the Los Angeles Spanish-language daily, La Opini?n.

Kmart spokesman Dave Karraker confirmed that print is not part of the branding campaign, which has been on radio for four weeks and began running on TV more than two weeks ago. “That doesn’t mean print will not rear its head later in the year, [but] there are not plans on the table now,” he said.

The campaign targets black and Latino customers, who, according to the Troy, Mich.-based retailer, account for 32% of its shoppers.

While the ethnic press is shut out of the branding campaign, Kmart remains an active preprint advertiser in Hispanic print, said Robert Armband, associate publisher of the Chicago Spanish-language weekly, La Raza. Ethnic papers also will have a chance to get ad dollars this summer when Kmart begins a tour of 17 cities with an 18-wheeler, said Gary Matthews, national sales manager for the weekly Baltimore Afro-American.

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