The Rap Against K-Mart

Maybe I’m being too sensitive, but has anyone else been offended by the K-Mart back to school commercials?

If you haven’t seen them, there are two in particular that concern me … the Yo Mama school layaway clip and the My Limo ad. While I appreciate the fact K-Mart — like all retailers — have to appeal to the kids, I think they crossed the line by using the kids in the commercials.

The first starts with a gang-like confrontation, using the derogatory phrase, “Yo Mama” as its consistent theme. And with each put down — how I view the term Yo Mama — there is a corresponding “Ooh” from the assembled youth, all in the 10-13 age bracket. The problem is the kids look like hoodlums, sound like hoodlums and if the script wasn’t for selling, could be hoodlums. I was actually waiting for a knife or gun to appear when one of the kids missed their line. Is that the message we should be giving that age bracket? Gangs are cool?

I had less of a problem with the My Limo commercial which used rap to get the sales message across, but it still didn’t sit well with me. From my antiquated background, I just had a problem even understanding half of what the kids were saying … especially during their bridging chorus. The kids are proudly billed as Da Rich Kidzz, a group of kid rappers from Minneapolis ranging in age from 10-13 years old. Using urban kids to sell to urban kids — and suburban urban wannabes — may be acceptable, but I found it disturbing. And to top it off, there was a token white girl in the clip who, quite frankly, didn’t do too much. In the past, wasn’t that one of the complaints in reverse?

K-Mart isn’t alone in exploiting kids. I heard another on the radio. I don’t even know who the pitch was for, but what caught me was an obvious young teenage girl saying “OMG!” (Oh my God) then talking about, I believe, her shoes. “My friends are going to so jelly!” (jealous). Of course, Mom responds she doesn’t care about peanut butter or jelly, just pleased she saved money.

What bothered(s) me is the use of contemporary catchphrases — aka abbreviations, slang and shortcuts — in back to school commercials. No one knows how to spell anymore. No one knows syntax or sentence structure, when to use certain words or, more important, how to use proper words.

And in this day of bullying sensitivity, what was Hyundai thinking with its latest Santa Fe commercial? Somebody at the ad agency didn’t get the memo.

K-Mart may be targeting its audience with those ads. They certainly didn’t resonate with me. But I think it is the responsibility of advertisers to break stereotypes … not add to them. Then again, what am I thinking?

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: It is easier to build boys than to repair men.

About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
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2 Responses to The Rap Against K-Mart

  1. Alene Clark says:

    Hey papa Joe, I am SO glad that someone finally spoke up and said something about those commercials. I loved the “I ship my pants” ones. But the “my limo” How much more ghetto can this world get? I apologize if I offended anyone by using the word “ghetto”. But it’s truly the only word that comes to mind for me. “The bus is my limo”? Seriously? When we were kids (Colle, myself and many others) growing up, they never advertised stuff like that. At some point now someone truly has got to draw the line. And not only is that one pretty offensive but you are correct in saying as well that the “Yo Mama” ones are too. When we were kids the “yo mama” jokes were all good natured all the way around no matter what race you were etc. And every single one of us kids had fun with it without one single fight over any of those jokes being told! Now in the commercial, not only are they not funny- but they are tacky. It’s bad enough that in today’s society kids are being bullied because of what they wear to school, or how their hair looks etc. Most times because some parents just can’t afford the brands of clothing your typical teenager wears now! The last thing we need is commercials like that to influence the minds of small children who watch them and walk into school thinking they are like those kids on those commercials. Truly a very sad situation. Thanks again for writing this papa Joe. ❤ and hugs!


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