By Laurel Wentz
Univision’s new Spanish-language game show is set in a replica of a Kmart store, where contestants compete in a flurry of supermarket sweepstakes-like challenges showcasing Kmart products from Hispanic-oriented lines from Selena Gomez-branded clothing to toys and tools. "Arrasa con Todo con Kmart" ("Sweep It All With Kmart") debuted Feb. 12 in an hour-long Saturday afternoon slot. Goya is also a sponsor.
For Kmart, it’s the first time the retailer’s name has been part of the title of a TV show, and reflects both Kmart’s growing focus on Hispanic consumers and Univision’s increasingly aggressive approach to branded entertainment, an area the biggest U.S. Spanish-language broadcaster has lagged in. Kmart is even mentioned in the show’s theme song.
"The census proved the Latinization of America is well under way," said Mark Snyder, Kmart’s chief marketing officer. "We’re trying to find ways to bring Kmart’s value proposition to this market and to go beyond traditional media."
With the Kmart brand so deeply embedded in the show, "we’ve guided the process all along," Mr. Snyder said. "We have a big toy selection, and our private label Smart Sense was introduced in September on 700 products and will be on 1,200 by the end of the year." Kmart also has several brands with specific appeal to Hispanics, like Selena Gomez clothing and a Casa Cristina line of home goods endorsed by Cristina Saralegui, a well-known Hispanic personality and former longtime talk-show host.
"Selena is arguably the most popular teen girl star, and 71% of Latinas look to Cristina as a role model. Her brand is [about] family, community and culture but she lives in the modern world," Mr. Snyder said. "And we recently announced a women’s apparel line with Sofia Vergara [‘Modern Family’] launching in September in stores."
Kmart worked closely with Univision’s producers to build games around brands the retailer wants to feature. In the opening show, Jose and Pati, in bright shirts featuring Univision’s logo, play a game called "What’s Changed?" in which the game show’s model Carolina parades through the store showing off her outfit of brands sold at Kmart, then reappears with one item changed. The contestants spot that she’s added a gray Kmart scarf, then removed her Kmart necklace and finally swapped her Selena Gomez purse for one in a different color.
In one of the shopping sprees, they scramble to find six items each in about a minute from a scavenger-hunt list. Jose wins by grabbing five of his items, including a flatware set, a toy, and men’s shoes. Pati only finds four, bringing back an extension cord and a baseball bat but failing to locate an elusive ice cream scoop. Pati exits with a Kmart gift certificate, and Jose is matched with Alfredo, the winner from the first half of the show. In the next challenge, Alfredo struggles to name items found in the jewelry department. (When he can only think of the English word for cufflinks, host Carlos Calderon, a jovial entertainment personality, helpfully supplies the Spanish word).
Goya products are also featured in challenges, such as assembling a puzzle of a Goya condiment.
The final shopping spree has Jose and Alfredo racing through the store to fill shopping carts with the highest-value merchandise they can find. By grabbing a Kmart Blue Light Special, doubling the value of his shopping cart, Jose wins.
In a mobile component, a Kmart-branded mobile site on Univision.com lets viewers interact with the show and download a Kmart coupon.
Mr. Snyder said Kmart will also air in each show four commercials, created by DraftFCB, which handles both Kmart’s general market and multicultural business. Sears Holding Corp., the parent company for Kmart and Sears, ranks as the 17th-biggest advertiser in the U.S. Hispanic market, spending a total of $58 million in Spanish-language media for the two companies in 2009, according to Ad Age’s ranking of Hispanic advertisers.