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Martha, Jaclyn & Kathy Go to Kmart

April 6, 2001, 12:00 AM EDT

Kmart press conference and in-store campaign launch W New York - Union Square, Kmart Astor Place store Monday, 04.02.01, 8:30 AM onward
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“The Blue Light Is Back” was the mantra that echoed in the ears of attendees at the launch of Kmart's new marketing campaign that kicked off with a two-part event. First, a press conference was held inside the Great Room of the W hotel on Union Square. Later, a consumer-oriented in-store event at the retailer's Astor Place location featured an appearance of Kmart's bizarre celebrity triumvirate: ex-Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover girl Kathy Ireland, Lifetime Television staple and former Charlie's Angel Jaclyn Smith and homemaker-cum-multimedia power broker Martha Stewart.

Before the press conference began, juggling briefcases, cell phones, cups of coffee and muffins, the crowd of financiers, journalists and Kmart executives mingled in the area outside the Great Room. Inside, Eventage Event Production set up a small stage with a screen backdrop for the video projections that accompanied the presentation by Kmart CEO and chairman Charles “Chuck” Conaway. Public relations firm Porter Novelli filled the room to capacity with journalists and photographers--it was standing room only by the time the presentation began.

Touting Kmart's “Attention Kmart Shoppers” announcement as part of the American lexicon (and reminding the crowd that the 26-year old “Blue Light Special” once whipped Kmart shoppers into a frenzy), Conaway divulged the new campaign's purpose: to reinvigorate the Kmart brand and to reestablish it as a major competitor to Wal-Mart and Target. In an effort to compete with Target's sassy ad campaigns, Kmart hired the advertising mavens at TBWAChiatDay to create new, hipper ads that feature the Statue of Liberty with a blue-lit torch and an alien spaceship with a blue transporter beam. Press conference attendees were also treated to a preview of the new television commercials.

For the in-store event at Kmart's Astor Place store, a stage was set inside the entrance to the store, where Eventage placed Kmart-logoed back drops printed by Photobition and shiny blue draping from Rose Brand. Jammin' 105 personality Jay Thomas and World Championship Wrestling star Goldberg hosted an “Attention Kmart Shoppers” announcement contest, which was judged by some Kmart executives. The winner, Tracy Baltimore, won a $5,000 gift card to the store. The event climaxed with the appearance of Ireland, Smith and Stewart, who posed for pictures and then unveiled the new Blue Light, which was suspended over the audience in the middle of a large fabric circle. The blue strobe light went off, music blared and Eventage launched tons of blue confetti from Flutter Fetti into the audience.

--Suzanne Ito

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