Kmart, la "Mamaste": Store Apologizes For "Unintentional" Mother's Day Campaign
"Show Mom love with a special 'gift'"
"Mamaste: Find your happy place..." is what happens when you don't have any Spanish-speakers in the room.
Kmart's "Mamaste" Mother's Day campaign was supposed to be a "fun" play on the phrase "namaste," the respectful Sanskrit greeting popularized by yoga teachers that means "I bow to you."
Unfortunately, "mamaste" means something very different in Spanish.
"Are you sure that's what you meant to say Kmart," asked CNN's Nicole Chavez in a tweet. "I'm available to help avoid Spanish obscenities," she offered before hashtagging the tweet #nomames.
Needless to say, Spanish-speakers everywhere were both outraged and amused by the "unintentionally" offensive ad.
Did they @Kmart mean to hve a play on words with #Namaste and Mom ? Mamaste is something in the past tense in Spanish and wayyy different ????... either way perhaps dads would be happy with this setup either way!?? ????????♂️ https://t.co/FhKjnbfBv5— Ivan Pierre Aguirre (@i_p_a_1) May 3, 2020
Safe to say, la CAGASTE https://t.co/7PwKBvAtA0— andres sanchez (@universal_punk) May 6, 2020
Others were quick to point out that this embarrassing situation could have easily been avoided with a little diversity in the room, especially since a significant portion of Kmart's customers are Latinos.
having a culturally diverse marketing team is the difference between running an ad saying “mamaste” meant be read as “namaste”— Johnny The Photographer ???????? (@JohnnyPenagoss) May 4, 2020
but actually reads
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
Latino Rebels reached out to Kmart to ask who had worked on the ad and if any bilingual individuals had been consulted.
They received a generic response from Larry Costello, PR director of Transformco, Kmart's parent company:
"This was unintentional and we apologize to our members and customers."
Despite followup emails, he declined further comment.
A quick Google search reveals this is not the first mama/namaste mashup.
Apparently, a yogi mom named Lori Bregman wrote a book called "Mamaste: Discover A More Authentic, Balanced, And Joyful Motherhood From Within." It's on sale at Target and Amazon for $13.