Walmart is placing a large portion of its TV budget into spot this year, rolling out price-comparison ads against local retailers in 60 markets this year, up from 50 last year, reports AdAge. It’s part of a plan that will see Walmart produce some 1,500 TV ads in 2013. That’s more than double the 615-plus it ran in all of 2012, which itself was up substantially from a year earlier, when new local ads up 79%, according to Advertising Benchmark Index, which tracks consumer response to most new ads in the U.S.
It’s all part of Walmart’s effort to apply the real-time marketing popular in social media to TV, said people familiar with the campaign, though that does come at considerable cost in terms of production and spot media buys.
“We’re still running a number of national ads and still feel that’s playing an important role,” a Walmart representative told AdAge. “But we also know grocery is a local business, and it’s important to have that local voice out there.”
The price comparisons already have raised hackles of competitors, who started complaining to state attorneys general last year but have so far not prompted any formal investigations, another Walmart spokesman said.
Creative will compare the cash-register receipts of consumers who shopped at a competitor to what they would have paid at Walmart (rather than looking at some artificially concocted market basket). And according to Advertising Benchmark Index consumer panels, the ads work. Walmart’s local price-comparison ads average around 130 on the index, which factors in such things as likability and purchase intent, or around 30% above average for industry ads.