Wal-Mart’s New ‘Tude
By George Anderson
It wants more upscale shoppers without driving away its core consumers. It wants to be known for chic as well as cheap. It is Wal-Mart.
The retailer has recently announced a number of marketing deals it hopes will accomplish all of the above. Among these are an advertising campaign in the fashion magazine Vogue; an exclusive multi-year deal to sell music from country star Garth Brooks; as well as a holiday promotional deal with the recording group Destiny’s Child.
Wal-Mart has chosen to emphasize its apparel and music offerings in its bid to re-image itself, said the company’s chief marketing officer John Fleming.
Brand expert Allan Adamson told USA Today he thinks Wal-Mart may be on to something with its marketing initiatives. “Partnering with an icon like Vogue is smart, because they need to turn some heads if they want to turn that giant thing called the Wal-Mart brand image,” he said.
“We’re finding a lot of customers that haven’t shopped the department (clothing) before. We believe our assortment has improved in the last few years, and this is a way to get that message in the marketplace,” said Mr. Fleming.
It’s not too late for Wal-Mart to reshape its image and attract shoppers who may normally go to Target, said Mr. Adamson. “Target proved that value can be chic. Fashion and value are no longer mutually exclusive. Those two worlds are colliding, and everyone needs to get in the boat,” he said.
Target outspent Wal-Mart in marketing last year, according to figures from Ad Age cited in the USA Today piece. Target spent $904 million versus $841 million by Wal-Mart in 2004.
Moderator’s Comment: Are the latest moves by Wal-Mart moving it in the right direction? Does the product in the store live up to the image the retailer
is looking to create in its marketing?
An unofficial survey of fashion and music-conscious shoppers here revealed Wal-Mart would have done a lot better had it made a deal with Big & Rich
along with Cowboy Troy instead of Garth… and with the Black Eyed Peas rather than Destiny’s Child. Of course, those surveyed prefer to shop at Target instead of Wal-Mart. (Oops,
that’s the point isn’t it?) –
George Anderson – Moderator