BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores here last week said it was unveiling its first new advertising tag line in 19 years: “Save Money. Live Better,” replacing the iconic “Always Low Prices” message that has defined the giant retailer for a generation.
TV ads carrying the new message began airing last week and feature a lifestyle theme in which customers are shown enjoying the money they have saved by shopping at Wal-Mart. Some of the commercials Wal-Mart made available for online viewing also include an onscreen message: “Wal-Mart saves the average family $2,500 a year. What will you do with your savings?”
That figure, the company said, came from a report on Wal-Mart's economic impact conducted by research firm Global Impact. The report was first conducted in 2005 and was updated last year.
Laura Ries, president of Ries & Ries, a brand consulting firm based in Atlanta, said she thinks the new tag line is inferior to the “Always Low Prices” message, which, along with the smiley-face logo, has been ubiquitous in the company's stores and advertising throughout its last two decades of whirlwind growth.
“The best thing they ever had was ‘Always Low Prices,’” she said. “I think the new wording is confusing — ‘Live Better’ — what does that mean? I certainly don't feel like I am living better when I am shopping at a Wal-Mart. Does it mean I live worse if I shop at Target? I don't think so.”
While she commended Wal-Mart for moving away from the fashion-oriented tack that the company veered on last year, and which the company has blamed for some its long-stalled sales momentum, she described the new tag line as being more “watered down” than the previous effort.
The ads also appear to lack a strong message, she said. In one, a family is seen riding in a car past a few fleeting images of a Wal-Mart store before they arrive at their beachfront vacation destination. At the end, the Wal-Mart logo, tag line and message about the $2,500 in savings appear.
“Watching this ad, I have no idea what it's about,” Ries said. “It's a family, and they are driving, not shopping. There's no store, no stuff.”
Wal-Mart said TV spots will also direct viewers to a new website, www.SaveMoneyLiveBetter.com, which displays a tally of the money the company claims Americans have saved by shopping at its stores.