Walmart: Inexpensive, But Not Cheap

I’d like to start this post with a disclaimer: I hate commercials. I don’t watch much Television, so I don’t see a lot of commercials. It’s nice. When I do watch TV, I press mute during commercials. That said, I understand the reasons for commercials and that there are lots of effective commercials. Here’s one:

The Spot
Outside of a Walmart the host introduces the theme, Walmarts “Low Price Guarantee,” and the star of the commercial, Lainie N. from Illinois. They move inside to start comparing Walmart’s prices with Lainie’s receipt from another store. First they check out breakfast sausage, and then orange juice.

The host explains that Walmart will match lower advertised prices from competitors at the register, and that they have “everyday low prices.” The pair is then shown with a full cart walking towards the checkout. Then comes the moment of truth as Lainie finds out just how much she saved with Walmart.

The host then invites viewers to bring in their last receipt to find out how much they could save. (This commercial can be found by searching “Low price guarantee Lainie” on YouTube).

The Problem
According to this article from Business Insider, in the mid 2000s Walmart had to rebrand itself in order to shed the “cheap” image that was associated with it. They needed to put a positive spin on their low prices to show that Walmart was inexpensive, but not cheap.

The Idea
The idea of this commercial is to highlight Walmart’s “Low Price Guarantee,” which is backed by it’s “Ad Match” policy, and how much money one can save by shopping at Walmart. The purpose of the commercial is to show a customer being shocked at Walmart’s low prices, while still being satisfied with the product.

The Execution
Walmart strives to rebrand itself through this commercial, which is one in a series of many highlighting the “Low Price Guarantee.” This commercial shows an actual Walmart shopper instead of an actor, though it does say in fine print that Lainie was compensated for her time. Still, using an actual customer makes it easier for viewers to identify with the commercial and accept the message.

Walmart's Low Price Guarantee Policy

Walmart’s Ad Match Policy

The commercial shows Lainie checking out different products and being very surprised with the prices. “That’s a great price!” She exclaims as the host points out the price of sausage. Another effective piece used in this commercial is the image of Lainie having her receipt from another store. This reinforces the idea that not only are Walmart’s prices great, but they’re better than competitors’ prices.

There is one thing that really stands out to me in the execution of this commercial; the host actually uses and shows brand name products in the commercial. The sausages are Jimmy Dean products, a recognized brand in the United States. The orange juice featured is Simply Orange Juice, a product recognizable even here in Canada.

What Works?
I think that this commercial works really well as a whole. Using the techniques detailed above, Walmart effectively communicates the fact that they have low prices, but this is not something they’re ashamed of, nor something customers should be afraid of.

By using specific, recognized brand names this commercial helps to further emphasize the inexpensive vs. cheap product comparison.

Receipt Comparison

Receipt Comparison

The whole commercial conveys the idea that Walmart has low prices. One way that they drive this home, which seemed really effective to me, is at the end of the commercial when the host invites viewers to “see for yourself, bring in your last receipt [and] see how much you could save.” This call to action should certainly generate interest and response among the target audience.

What Doesn’t Work?
To be honest, I couldn’t really find much that I thought didn’t work in this commercial. It is very fast paced at times, which might be a problem for some, but I like it. If anything, I might show the price of Lainie’s Walmart trip in comparison with her receipt from another store to drive home the point even more, but other than that I think the ad is good as is.

Final Grade:grade-a-minus
A-. If Walmart wants to rebrand themselves and establish the fact that they are inexpensive but not cheap, this commercial, and the others like it, work really well. I think this commercial is effective in making consumers really rethink Walmart, and consider the money they might be able to save by shopping there.

It actually makes me want to compare my receipts with Walmart’s prices, and I’m not even in the target demographic. I may just do so one day. Would you?


One thought on “Walmart: Inexpensive, But Not Cheap

  1. Pingback: Hitting the big two oh oh | Teaching Teacher

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