Kmart, based in Troy, Mich., aired the ad Monday -- the first day of school in many places -- 106 days before Christmas and well ahead of current norms. The ad focuses on the retail chain's layaway program.
The ad aired nearly seven weeks ahead of Kmart's first Christmas ad in 2012, which ran Oct. 28 last year, and prompted numerous complaints in Kmart's Facebook page.
Target raised eyebrows last year when it ran a Christmas-themed TV ad Oct. 15, Business Insider said.
Jonathan Symonds, an executive vice president at industry analyst Ace Metrix, told Ad Age it is necessary to promote layaway programs in advance but the decision to air the ad one week after Labor Day "will, by definition, create a slightly earlier cycle."
"As opposed to right before Halloween, it will have the impact of pulling the season up by a few weeks," Symonds said. "But it won't start the race today."
Retailers have frequently undertaken promotions and other efforts to push Christmas merchandise well ahead of Christmas, but TV ads are generally held back until late October, Ad Age said.
Kathy Grannis, a spokeswoman for the National Retail Federation, told the trade publication the new ad "might give new meaning to the phrase Christmas Creep. It's anybody's game right now, wheels are definitely in motion for a very promotional holiday season."
Kmart told Business Insider it is not ready to discuss its holiday marking strategy.
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