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Here’s the current Wal-Mart radio commercial, complete with an opening line guaranteed to drive away listeners.

Every element of that radio advertisement is pathetic.

“Have you heard what’s going on at Wal-Mart?”

Yeah, that’s going to grab the attention of the targeted listener. So many of us awaken in the morning and think, “I wonder what’s going on at Wal-Mart?”

And what is going on at Wal-Mart? A price comparison campaign against a grocery competitor.

“But Dan, if people learn they can buy groceries for a lot less money than at Ralphs, won’t that be of interest to budget conscious shoppers?”

Perhaps. But that is not the message of this spot. This ad simply says Wal-Mart is gathering price comparisons.

The only way you’d learn about Wal-Mart’s presumed savings would be if you heeded the Call To Action:

“Want to know what they’re finding? Go online to see the results for yourself.”

I guarantee Wal-Mart’s Internet server isn’t being overloaded with traffic from people rushing online to see the results for themselves.

Not even to see the “extra videos.” (Oh, you missed that part?)

It’s rare to find a big brand commercial in which every element is terrible: too many words, a too fast voice over delivered in a dumb monotone, and mindless music that only adds to the overall noise factor.

Only after listening for the fourth time did I discover this radio ad has two Calls To Action:

1.  Go to their website (y’know, to “see the results yourself” and also those mysterious “extra videos”).

2.  Bring your latest grocery receipt from any store to Wal-Mart and compare the prices.

The spot closes with, “You’ve got nothing to lose”
— Well, except for the time it would take to bring a competitor’s grocery receipt to Wal-Mart and compare the prices. Fortunately, most of us have so much free time….

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  • Brent Walker January 14, 2013, 2:43 pm

    wow that sucks. Any idea who produced it? Sounds like small-market radio station midnight jock stuff.

  • Scott Snailham January 14, 2013, 2:48 pm

    The male read is fine….more of a joe average trying to sort of sounding exciting. I personally would have went with a female voice. This stuff is nothing new for walmart. I’d see newspaper ads in my market years ago, and in store comparisons with the competitons prices using actual shopping carts and products. They are always doing lowest price branding, This is just market specific. You’ll get people to the website….IF they can understand the message that you’ll save money. Idea is good, execution ok, but ultimately the numbers will show if the radio spots work, as you can monitor web traffic easily. For me, it’s far too wordy that the message to go to the website can easily get lost.

  • Kevin Clay January 14, 2013, 3:01 pm

    If they would have just added something about their “friendly, knowledgeable staff” and “quality merchandise at affordable prices” it would have been the perfect spot! 🙂

  • Rod Schwartz January 15, 2013, 6:19 pm

    Hey, if you’re used to buying your groceries from Ralph’s, switching to Wal Mart could save you some money.
    Want proof?
    Find it right now at Wal Mart.
    Live better. Spend less.

    Ten seconds at a conversational pace. WalMart could buy more frequency and get their message across more effectively, without irritating listeners. Who wrote their copy?

  • Neal Angell January 15, 2013, 7:01 pm

    As bad as that spot is, and as much as I dislike Wal-Mart (Target is the place for me – I’m closer to a Wal-Mart but will go out of my way to shop Target) I have to say that, for the most part, Wal-Mart does a very good job of marketing themselves, with consistent messages focused one their one big strength: low prices. Many retailers could learn from Wal-Mart about having one core message and sticking to it. You never hear a Wal-Mart commercial talking about their “friendly, knowledgeable staff” or “attentive, personal service” because that’s not their strong suit and they know it. And I don’t think their regular customers even expect it. Wal-Mart is the no-frills place to get cheap merchandise, plain and simple.

    Interestingly, after doing a bit of online research, Wal-Mart has around 9000 stores worldwide, while Target has less than 2000 stores and their only international expansion has been into Canada. But if you check their Facebook, Wal-Mart has around 26.2 million “Likes” while Target has about 21.5 million “Likes.” So Wal-Mart has far more customers but, by comparison, far fewer who actually enjoy their shopping experience? (Or far few who will admit to shopping there). Hmmm.