Recently I wrote an article about how Kmart stays relevant in a retail world dominated by Target and Wal-Mart. One of its distinguishing factors is that is has boldly appealed to black and Hispanic customers at a time when most mass market retailers are not. "In urban areas, Kmart is going after black and Hispanic customers," he said. "Neither Target nor Wal-Mart is actively going after the ethnic consumer," said retail analyst Britt Beemer of America's Research Group.


Now Kmart is connecting to Hispanic moms by launching Madres y Comadres, an 8-part miniseries in Spanish that focuses on two Hispanic mothers and the challenges of raising a family in America while still holding on to their Hispanic roots. You can watch the first commercial (in Spanish) on YouTube here. Next month, the retailer will introduce a line by Sofia Vergara of "Modern Family" on ABC.  


Kmart explains the reasons it is reaching out to the Hispanic customer:

“Kmart is a heritage brand with a rich history in America. We’re passionate about the diversity of our customer base and excited about the opportunity to speak directly with our Hispanic customers while celebrating their culture and traditions,” said Mark Snyder, chief marketing officer, Kmart. “The first episode of Madres y Comadres launched this month just in time for back to school and aligns with the recently launched Latina Smart Facebook page, allowing Kmart to develop a deeper relationship with Hispanic women who are both tech savvy, yet underserved from a content perspective.”

One driving insight is the role that extended families play in Hispanic culture, leading to the title “Madres y Comadres” (Madre meaning mother, and ‘Comadre’ which translates to a mother’s close female friend that she confides in). The scripted series is accompanied by twelve video interviews with real Hispanic moms from Mexico, Peru, Guatemala and Colombia coping with the nuances of raising American children in a traditional Hispanic household.

“Women are forced to play so many roles – mothers, housewives and professionals,” said writer and director Alberto Ferreras best known for his long-running “Habla” documentary series on HBO Latino. “When you are a Latina, you have to be all that and bilingual and bicultural. These segments are a tribute to all mothers working so hard and learning from and supporting each other.” Ferreras was tapped to direct the series by Kmart partner Meredith Corporation and their Meredith Video Studios arm.

The fully customized YouTube channel will include a wealth of content and robust functionality such as data capture, Facebook and Twitter social plug-ins and sharing features, and even shopable video. While YouTube will serve as the host channel for all video content, the holistic approach will include a dedicated Twitter account @MadresyComadres and Facebook media, consistent with the multiple platforms where Hispanic usage is outpacing other audience segments.

It's surprising to me that this is even news today. I assumed that big box retailers were already doing segmented marketing to ethnic groups on television, but in an effort to save money, I suppose, they try to include diversity in ads that appeal to everyone rather than specific groups. 

Ford is another company that is going back to segmented marketing on TV. It that started producing TV ads for African-American consumers last year that have been extremely successful. I know that companies tailor some magazine ads to specific target groups, but are TV ads an exception?