TARGET EMPHATIC VALUE:
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Target’s advertising recently has been as stylish as its guest designer products — often more so. The economy, however, is forcing the discounter to focus more on value than style, even diminishing the size on-screen of its famed tag line, “Expect More. Pay Less,” and inserting a new, more explicit catch phrase, “Get More for Less.” For example, a new Target spot, set to a Dolly Parton
song, shows a woman with her dog and Beneful dog food, accompanied by the words, “More Dinner. Less Dollar.” Target’s advertising budget last year was $1.19 billion, according to Advertising Age. Another spot begins with the image of the meter on a gas pump running past $75 and promises “A New Day. New Ways to Save,” followed by suggestions and actual product prices. “The new movie night” shows a couple eating popcorn in a darkened living room with a $13 DVD on the table, while “the new family room” features a backyard tent for $70.49. “It’s still fun, hip and fresh, but we’re being more bold and direct with the value messaging, for example, calling out the prices of merchandise in the actual ad,” a Target spokesman said.
Wal-Mart, long the low-price leader, has been outpacing its rival Target in recent months in terms of sales growth and has used the economic downturn as an opportunity to take its advertising to a more sophisticated level and court consumers with comfortable lifestyles who are now looking to trade down. Rather than simply communicate price rollbacks as in the past, Wal-Mart depicts lifestyles and events to which these shoppers can relate in spots with high production values. The tag line, “Always Low Prices. Always,” has been replaced by “Save money. Live better.” The question now is what happens to the two mass retailers when the economic pressure subsides. — Sharon Edelson