Make Me Emotional Already
Wal-Mart has ditched its 19 year-old tagline, "always low prices", complete with ads showing the friendly yellow smiley-face haphazardly knocking numbers off price display signs, to a new one that is supposed to evoke a more "emotional tone". What is really going on here?
The new tagline is "Save Money. Live Better." I've seen some of the new ads which accompany this new tact that show "regular" people (actors) saying how, by saving money on the little things, it can add up and, thus, help families live better. Is that a stretch or what?
If you read deeper into the research that was commissioned it shows that, since Wal-Mart has expanded its huge stores and built into more locations, overall consumer prices were reduced by 3%, measured by the Consumer Price Index. (3% ain't much, folks.) Wal-Mart's goal is to increase sales in its US stores over the next year in order to continue to help their customers live these "better overall lives".
What this tells me is, in order for more families to "live better", let's let Wal-Mart build more mega-stores, develop on more and more precious land, create more suburban sprawl, sell more junk, made of more disposable packaging (waste), to predominantly lower-educated people who think they need more of this junk (they don't need) because "it's a good deal", is the real agenda of this study and new tagline. It's pretty disgusting to me. Capitalism and consumerism at its finest.
Does Wal-Mart really care about their customers' lives being better? Isn't this the same corporation who had discrimination lawsuits filed against it as well as being accused of hiring undocumented workers at lower than the minimum wage? I guess the care and concern over their customers' lives doesn't apply to Wal-Mart's own family of employees.
Now back to the new tagline. It is a common practice these days for marketing messages to be more emotional and appeal to the true feelings of the target audience - also called psychographics. As a marketing guy myself, as well as a visual communicator, I truly feel that the true motives of those in the corporate office should be known and separated from how they're disguised as benefits to their valuable, and vulnerable customers.
Buying more and more "things" just because they're available and a "good deal" is entirely out of control. Why not donate those extra savings into donations to the needy or volunteering at a homeless shelter? Why doesn't Wal-Mart, and the other mega-stores for that matter, build some affordable housing/shelters or donate to their valuable customers that are less fortunate. Wouldn't this strategy actually make these same folks "live better"? I guess this option doesn't look as good on the financial statements.
This new tagline appealed to my emotions, all right.