We’re here for sexual liberation, but we doubt that’s what Kmart was referring to in their latest advertising gaffe. For a Mother’s Day campaign, they used the word “Mamaste,” which is supposed to be a play on “Namaste,” encouraging mothers to relax. While this seems to be a term in the yoga community, the retail giant should know better considering what the word actually means to its Spanish-speaking clients.
As CNN’s Nicole Chavez pointed out on Monday:
— Nicole Chavez (@NicoleChavz) May 3, 2020
The messaging on the ad doesn’t help clarify any confusion. Here’s what it says: “Moms around the country deserve that much needed time to clear their head. It’s time to relax.” Um… awkward.
Like some users pointed out on Twitter, we too are wondering about the diversity of their advertising team.
All I can imagine is a room of grinning doofuses repeating their brilliant idea for a half hour. All the conference calls about the "mamaste campaign".
— Angel Luis Colón (@GoshDarnMyLife) May 5, 2020
— monica (@monicasegura) May 5, 2020
Kmart was running a Mother’s Day ad & put “Mamaste” in bold lettering… lmfaoooo someone needs to be fired
— Very Peaceful ? (@_yourfavmorena) May 6, 2020
On Wednesday, Latino Rebels reached out to Kmart about the ad asking the following:
- Did Kmart know that this term you published is a vulgarity in Spanish?
- Who worked on the ad?
- Did Spanish-speaking or bilingual individuals get consulted before this ad came out?
A Kmart spokesperson emailed an official statement to these questions.
“This was unintentional and we apologize to our members and customers,” Larry Costello, PR director for Transformco (Kmart’s parent company) wrote to Latino Rebels.
After a follow-up about the original questions submitted, the Costello refused to answer any more questions at the time about whether someone on their team understood the meaning of the word, or whether any Spanish-speakers were consulted.
“We’ll decline further comment,” he wrote.
The use of “MAMASTE” in English is not exclusive to Kmart. Last year, the book Mamaste: Discover a More Authentic, Balanced, and Joyful Motherhood from Within got published. There’s also a website. (BTW: even a media site catered to Latinas don’t see the big problem with the word.)
Here at Latino Rebels we have an entire slew of stories titled #NoMames, and many of them include advertising gaffes. This one is right on brand, because like this one Twitter user pointed out to Kmart: ¡La cagaste!
Safe to say, la CAGASTE https://t.co/7PwKBvAtA0
— andres sanchez (@universal_punk) May 6, 2020
Hit it, Gollum: