Is the K-Mart “Show Your Joe” Commercial Naughty or Nice?

(Occasionally I get as sick as most people about contemplating the nature of our national governmental gridlock, informational deformations and related horrifying topics and want to write about something more fun.   I haven’t done it often, but for the sake of my sanity, I want to do it more.  Harnessing the Power of Boobs, written months ago, is an example of that, and below is another.  They will be available under the Categories section to the left under:  Americana).


“Naughty or nice” might not be exactly the right contrast, but if you’ve seen the K-Mart Show Your Joe commercial you get the point.   It has prompted an uproar by some while others, like myself, have seen it as uproarious, i. e. rollicking.   The ad has gone viral and it seems to me a majority find it clever and amusing rather than distasteful or disgusting.  It is shown at the bottom of this post, so you can decide for yourselves.

My sensibilities were formed as a kid in the 1950s, which makes me a comparative prude now.   For example, I find the prominence of the “F” word in almost every sentence uttered and all the “potty mouth” humor in comedies these days to be an irritatingly sad substitute for cleverness and wit, unless of course I laugh my ass off as was the case with:  Something About Mary, which was clever and witty in contrast, let’s say, to the Hangover movies, which lack much of either.   But I digress…

Now let me respond to a few of the negative comments found on the K-Mart site, which includes positive ones as well if you care to look.

Outraged respondent #1 “Swinging testicles in front of impressionable kids is not my idea of a family store. Goodbye Kmart and Sears.”

My Response:   Check the ad again below.  There are no testicles  shown a swinging, just as there are no lords a leaping.  You know they’re there, but the kids young enough to be really “impressionable” are not likely to think that way. They just see guys moving their hips in keeping with the music.  If they “get the joke” they are no longer  so impressionable.   Funny or not, it is no big deal.

Outraged respondent #2, a woman who saw the commercial with her 14 year old daughter:   “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and what you were implying,” she wrote. “Very disrespectful to your overall audiences, sad what you do for a sale or publicity. You lost my sales this year.”

My Response:  Just what were they implying?  That there are specifically male parts beneath those shorts that jiggle when not sufficiently strapped down?  That those parts might be playfully viewed as instruments to play Jingle Balls, er, Bells?  (*1)  You think that is a revelation or shock to your 14 year old daughter?  Are you Amish watching TV at a Mennonite friend’s house?

Has your daughter no access to the internet or to friends with access to the internet?  Clearly you have not gotten around to the birds and bees conversation.   You wouldn’t be so embarrassed if you had.   But bring it up with  your daughter and I’ll bet  she’ll say:  “I know, mom, I know.  Can we talk about something else?”  Again, no big deal, unless, mom, you want to press the point.

Really outraged respondent #3:   “Seriously DISGUSTING!!! MAKING a MOCKERY of a Holiday. Proof shows that retailers care nothing about the holiday & just the $ of the bottom line. Just close up shop now. Won’t be shopping neither here nor Sears.”

My Response:  I agree, there is much disgusting about the “holiday season” becoming essentially a matter of making money under a shallow veneer of traditional Christmas spirit.  Even the Black Friday dike holding back shopping frenzy to Thanksgiving night is almost completely eroded now.   And the Christmas creep of commercialism reaches us sooner each year.   I noticed traces of xmas paraphernalia in the stores in early October.   September can’t be too far away in the future of Christmas.

But in terms of the commercial, so what?  You are disgusted by what is going through your mind watching the commercial, not what is actually shown.  The commercial is like a double entendre in speech, with two meanings, one of them  sexual, albeit in this case barely so.  The title is a double entendre, adding to the list of names the penis has been given over the centuries.  To Dick, Peter and Willy, add Joe.   But as long as it is subtly so, it is part of a longstanding tradition of humor and OK by me.

Like beauty, bad taste is in the eye of the beholder.   The naughtiness you outraged sorts are feeling is a product of your own minds not what can be seen in the commercial.  My advice:

Get your minds out of the gutter.

And have a Merry Christmas.


(*1) By the way, had they used rather than implied Jingle Balls”, had gone from implied to blatant, the ad would cross the line separating funny and offensive to me.).


2 responses to “Is the K-Mart “Show Your Joe” Commercial Naughty or Nice?

    • I understand how the ad pushes a few sensitive buttons, so I think K-Mart would be wise to not show it in daytime TV. But it is the outrage that I find curious. I think numerous other ads are far more suggestive, such as the Carl’s Jr. ones with the young woman eating the burger with the relish of having sex, or underwear commercials that prompt sexual feelings. Somehow this particular ad, which is innocent to me, has acted as an ignited fuse for a variety of anger and frustration that have little to do with this commercial.

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