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Can Kmart's Big Gas Ad Reverse Big Gas Losses?

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Kmart isn't Wal-mart, and probably never will be. One is part of a parent company, which netted a nearly billion dollar loss last year, while the other netted $17 billion in profits.

That's one big gas difference.

So if you can't join 'em, beat 'em. At least with humor.


Kmart's new YouTube ad promotes a 30-cent savings per gallon of gas when you spend at least $50 at Kmart. The commercial is called "Big Gas Savings.. (Say the first two words out loud together quickly. Yep). Don't think we'll see this on TV, where no one watches commercials anymore anyway.

Anyhow…everyone in the commercial says "big gas" in one way or another, none more so than the family at the heart of the ad. The wife notices the "big gas man" driving what son Billy calls a "big gas truck." It's pretty funny, so funny you almost forget what they're trying to sell you—a reason to go to Kmart.

Maybe Kmart is really selling attitude, and that's not a bad thing. When's the last time you were inside a Kmart?

The same family in the gas commercial also stars in Kmart's previous "Ship My Pants" YouTube ad, which went viral and has more than 17 million hits.

"I can't wait to ship my pants, Dad," says young Billy in that commercial, which launched last month. "I just shipped my nightie," says one woman, though my favorite part is the guy lying on a mattress crowing gleefully: "I just shipped my bed!"

However, the "Big Gas Savings" ad launched Wednesday on YouTube, and so far it doesn't have many hits yet, which is surprising considering it's already been featured on "Today" and Forbes. Both of the videos were created by Draftfcb ad agency and produced by Bob Industries, a production company with a list of directors that includes everyone from Bob Odenkirk to Paris Barclay.

Is Kmart's big sass enough to change the game? I was in a Walmart this week, and it's hard to topple Goliath. However, a carefully slung stone could make a dent. So what's next? How far can Kmart push the humor?

On Twitter, @natsound suggested an ad campaign tied to free shipping when have six items to buy. "I just had six." "I had six at my house." "I had six in my car."

The edgiest idea, however, came from @roto9, who suggested a commercial proclaiming Kmart as the "Sofa King." "Kmart is Sofa King! Awesome." Not sure young Billy can get away with that.

—By CNBC's Jane Wells; Follow her on Twitter: @janewells

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  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

Humor