by Gabriella Herkert
My the world has changed. We’ve gone to war. Dot.com has gone bust. As each of our political or cultural icons has fallen in the path of bankruptcy, scandal or SEC investigation I couldn’t help thinking about the moment of innocence just before the crash. Months before the papers were full of Imclone and insider trading, mere weeks before K-Mart declared bankruptcy, I read a newspaper article about a collaboration between that Yin and Yang of marketing, Spike Lee and Martha Stewart.
Spike Lee meets Martha Stewart. Or at least they will now that the award-winning director has agreed to step behind the camera for K-Mart’s new advertising campaign. At first I thought, how weird is this? These two make Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley seem like a match made in heaven. Then I did a little research. Maybe K-Mart knows what they’re doing.
Spike Lee’s production company is called 40 Acres and a Mule. This could be an omen. Forty acres seems roughly equivalent to the distance I’m forced to walk from the parking lot to the store and only someone with the single-mindedness of an ass would try this on a Saturday. Spike’s knows his market.
The director won’t have to look far for ideas to bring K-Mart into his domain. K-Mart is already using School Daze for its back-to-school sales cycle. Now they’ll be able to use Spike’s other great ideas to round out their marketing campaign. She’s Gotta Have It from K-Mart. Do the Right Thing by shopping at K-Mart. Heck, he could even introduce the Mo’ Better Blue Light Special. It’s breaking new ground without abandoning recognizable marketing tools. What a world!
I think Spike’s influence could be even more pervasive. He could put his stamp on the actual departments. Think of Clockers Home Furnishings or the Jungle Fever Garden Center. He could go so far as to impact manufacturing by re-designating Inspector 7 as Girl 6. Then again, maybe that would be going too far.
Once his campaign is set, all Spike will need to do is bring in his other commercial clients to insure cross-promotional success. K-Mart will sell Levis and Nikes purchased with the American Express Card and advertised on ESPN or in the New York Times.
After a tough day in the aisles, shoppers will be able to get a Diet Coke or Snapple from the vending machines out front while they call their spouses on their AT & T cell phones to say they’re having so much fun shopping at K-Mart that they’ll be late for dinner but will pick up Taco Bell on the way home.
K-Mart may well return to the stock market as a bull in a Knick’s jersey courtesy of Spike with a capital K Lee.
With 20-20 (and Dateline) hindsight, we should have known.