Everything's Coming Up Roses at Kmart

Kmart's Martha Stewart Everyday brand will soon be going to the mailbox. As part of its advertising strategy, the Troy, MI-based mass-market retailer will send out the initial 1 million 6-inch-by-6-inch accordion-fold direct mail pieces to support the launch of the 2000 Martha Stewart Everyday Garden collection, although a company spokeswoman would not provide details on exact mailing dates.

The push includes eight print ads in upcoming issues of consumer magazines, including Home, American Homestyle and Gardening, Ladies' Home Journal, Life and People; one 30-second and one 60-second television spot that will air during daytime and primetime network programming beginning in March; and Sunday circulars, which began distribution last month with an initial run to 73 million households.

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., New York, a public multimedia company that encompasses TV, print, radio, e-commerce and mail order, produced the advertising campaign in conjunction with Kmart and Working Class.

“Kmart will continue to develop and release advertising pieces featuring the new garden product line,” said Kmart spokeswoman Nicole Dowswell. Specifically, the garden collection made its debut in southern region retail stores and will expand nationwide by April 1. It began as a test concept last year, and will include more than 1,000 garden and outdoor products: from plants and seeds to tools and accessories to outdoor lighting and gas grills.

The accordion mailer, which includes eight two-sided panels, poses the question: “Martha, Martha, how does your garden grow?” It features action photographs of the modern homemaking diva on the inside flaps, hoeing a vegetable garden, weeding, watering and collecting her harvest. Featured products include everything from oscillating sprinklers to natural fertilizers to 30 varieties of tomato seeds. The product collection also includes a array of outdoor furniture in 35 different styles.

Martha's Everyday collection, which originally began as a partnership between Kmart and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, with its bed and bath line in February 1997, continued to expand based on the foundation of its initial success with that effort. A paint line, via Sherwin-Williams, also launched that year.

Martha Stewart Everyday now encompasses not only those collections but also window treatments and infant bedding. Later this year, a housewares line will be introduced that will include dinnerware, flatware, cookware, bakeware, mirrors, picture frames and lamps. Once that is complete, Martha Stewart Everyday is expected to have more than 4,000 SKUs of products overall.

Kmart's retail stores will feature Everyday Garden displays and signs; remodeling was done in about 180 of its stores to accommodate the new collection.

Separately, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia earlier this month announced a $13 million investment in BlueLight.com LLC, New York, a new e-commerce site that offers free Internet access that launched in December. It will make its Martha Stewart Everyday products available on BlueLight.com. With that agreement and its cash investment, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia will gain 5 percent ownership. Kmart is a majority shareholder in BlueLight, with 60 percent.

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