Thursday, September 13, 2007

Wal-mart changes tagline

+ Wal-mart introduces new tagline in 19 years - "Save Money. Live Better."
The 30-second TV spots show typical families and explain that on average, Wal-Mart saves families $2,500 a year. Asking shoppers to imagine what their family could do with that savings, one spot shows the family flivver veering off at an exit marked "Orlando." In another, a gruff, pickup-driving Dad makes a U-turn so his teenage son can look at a used car. A third focuses solely on gas prices, with shoppers agreeing that's it's just nuts to pay more for gas if you don't have to. "I'm a lot of things," a man remarks. "But I'm not crazy."

The company says the campaign centers on research from Global Insight, which shows the retailer now saves American families $2,500 each year, up 7.3% from $2,329 in 2004. That works out to more than $900 per person, and the company promises a state-by-state breakdown of savings within a month.

The retailer has created a Web site,, which it plugs at the end of each spot, encouraging shoppers to submit their own savings stories. And it's also put up a "savings ticker" outside its Arkansas headquarters, to show "how much money American families save as a result of Wal-Mart's impact on communities."

While the new ads--the first major Wal-Mart campaign from The Martin Agency since it was hired last January--are warm and appealing, not everyone thinks they'll work.

"This campaign is a 100% guaranteed failure," says branding expert Rob Frankel, whose RobFrankel.Com is based in Encino, Calif. "It's not a brand strategy, it's a price claim. It doesn't do anything to encourage you to be loyal, and it's even insulting--people don't need to be told that it's a good idea to save money."

In fact, he says, emphasizing price adds to Wal-Mart's image problem. "To shop at Wal-Mart is almost the same as admitting you are poor," he says. "As soon as people can figure out a way not to shop at Wal-Mart, they do."

An additional disconnect, he says, is that that people's in-store experience of Wal-Mart won't necessarily mesh with the warm-and-fuzzy feeling created by the ads. "It's like, 'Whoa--you look a lot different in your pictures than when I met ya!"

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