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Kohl’s Ads Hit Upon Diversity and Triumph

Retailer’s Oscars’ ads demonstrated racial diversity, prompted gratitude

During the 88th Annual Oscars, Kohl’s unveiled a string of ads that dovetailed everyday triumphs with past Oscars speeches. My favorite is “Thank You Mother, Thank You Father,” where the husband finally gets that television remote, and the voiceover is from Cuba Gooding Jr.’s 1997 acceptance speech for winning Best Supporting Actor for Jerry Maguire. All of the repression of never having control of the television is released. He flies around the house on his own cloud nine, thanking every family member. In way, it manifests that real joy we feel when we finally get control over the shows. Personally, I feel like shouting hallelujah when I can watch my comedy shows instead of the usual crime dramas.

The campaign featured a diverse array of actors amidst the racially controversial Oscars. “Thank You Mother, Thank You Father,” “Thank You for Being a Friend” and “Here’s Thanking You, Kid” were all multi-ethnic in their casting. The voice over speeches from the campaign also included Whoopi Goldberg, Penelope Cruz, and Jeff Bridges – reminding viewers that people of different backgrounds deserve to be nominated and have, indeed, received an Oscar. Beyond the awards politics and current “whitewashed” nominees, there is the opportunity to be awarded and thankful for what life brings you.

In addition to the big message of diversity, the Kohl’s spots also lightened the mood a bit thanks to the humorous execution: watching a little kid lip sync to a voiceover of Jeff Bridges or Whoopi Goldberg brings the laughs. It also adds a bit of maturity to the children, where they understand the privileges given and accept them with arms wide open. The little boy who gets his play date in “Thank You for Being a Friend” demonstrates a great deal of enthusiasm and makes Jeff Bridges’s lines so applicable to his life, including the line about country music.



Above all else, the Kohl’s campaign reminds us to be thankful for things big and small. Some, myself included, may take the little triumphs in life for granted. Seeing these advertisements made me stop, think, and thank my family for the little things. Thank you Mom and Dad for letting me watch Cupcake Wars instead of Law and Order. Thank you for letting me have my friends over as a kid. Triumphs are for everyone, whether it is for the remote control or an Oscar. For Kohl’s to spend millions per 30 second spot and utilize their brand and budget this well, I give them a thumbs up and a job well done. Thank you, Kohl’s.




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