By  on September 13, 2007

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s new ad campaign goes to the heart of what matters most to its customers — their wallets.

With a new tag line, "Save more. Live better," replacing "Always low prices," the company continues to emphasize its low-price proposition, illustrating how saving money on the little things adds up and, by Wal-Mart's logic, can help people live better lives.

The 30-second TV commercials created by the Martin Agency juxtapose rural touchstones such as pickup trucks, luncheonettes and country roads with soulful instrumental soundtracks. Each spot ends with the message, "Wal-Mart saves the average family $2,500 per year. What will you do with your money?" followed by the new tag line.

The amount of savings per family came from new research released Wednesday in a study commissioned by Wal-Mart and conducted by Global Insight, which shows the average American family's savings of $2,500 is a 7.3 percent increase over $2,329 in 2004.

Global Insight found that a continued reduction in prices due to the presence of Wal-Mart and the growth in consumer expenditures from 2004 to 2006 translated directly into $287 billion in savings for consumers last year. Wal-Mart said a state-by-state analysis will be available later this month.

The world's largest retailer continues to mine its traditional roots, while rival Target's advertising focuses more on style and creativity. Target's most recent TV campaign features models wearing bold colors and graphic designs that seamlessly segue into eye-catching product assemblages, all set to a catchy soundtrack "A little bit more, a little bit more." The tag line is "Expect more. Pay less."

Wal-Mart has been looking to grow beyond its core customer, but attempts to up the trend and style quotient of categories such as apparel and soft home goods haven't played out well across the entire chain. The company has moved away from last year's more au courant advertising — which showed stylish merchandise with smiles in day-to-day life along with the message, "The more you save, the more you smile" — to the new campaign.

Among the spots in the latest campaign is the folksy "Car" commercial, which shows a father and son driving in a pickup truck. When the dad catches his son looking longingly at a jazzy red number in a used car dealership they pass, he quickly turns around and pulls into the lot. When the boy seems apprehensive, his father prods, "Go on, check it out." Another spot, "Road Trip" finds a family heading to Orlando in their station wagon with a suitcase on the roof and bikes hitched to the back of the car. The family travels on scenic roads and highways, where a Wal-Mart truck speeds past. The kids fight in the car, the family stays at a roadside motel, swims in the pool and runs along the beach.The commercials will run on network season premieres, specials and cable television. At the end of each spot, consumers are directed to Wal-Mart's interactive Web site, which features customer testimonials about how they've saved money by shopping at Wal-Mart and behind-the-scenes footage from the campaign. Consumers can submit their own savings testimonials.

"This is a return to basics and not different from the promise we always make to our customers that they'll find price leadership and great brands and value," said a Wal-Mart spokeswoman. "The ads breaking [Wednesday] are a small part of our advertising through the year. We'll continue to show product ads and seasonal ads. These help us set the tone in terms of great storytelling about how shopping at Wal-Mart helps you realize savings. These ads show that we're really in touch with who we are."

The company plans to track the amount of money saved by consumers so far this year by installing a savings ticker outside Wal-Mart's corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Ark.

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