NAD Tells Wal-Mart to Stop Savings Claim

Found That $2,500 Figure Did Not Require Shopping at Chain

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BATAVIA, Ohio (AdAge.com) -- Wal-Mart should discontinue the implied advertising claim that consumers can save $2,500 annually by shopping there, the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus recommended in a statement today.
The retail giant's claim that the average family saves $2,500 per year by shopping at Wal-Mart remains on its website, though it has been dropped from its TV and print ads.
The retail giant's claim that the average family saves $2,500 per year by shopping at Wal-Mart remains on its website, though it has been dropped from its TV and print ads.

The claim was part of the "Save Money. Live Better" ad campaign by Interpublic Group of Cos.' Martin Agency, Richmond, Va., that launched last year, early executions of which said, "Wal-Mart saves the average family $2,500 per year."

Wal-Mart, in an Advertising Age story on the claim in November, acknowledged that people don't need to shop at the retailer to realize the savings. The $2,500 figure came from 2005 and 2007 studies by the economics consulting firm Global Insight that found the very presence of Wal-Mart in a geographic market accounted for the savings, as competitors also cut prices in response to arrival of the discount retailer's stores.

Claim still on website
Wal-Mart has since dropped the claim from TV and magazine ads, though it remains on the retailer's website. A spokeswoman said Wal-Mart has modified the website to make it clearer that people need not necessarily shop at Wal-Mart to get the $2,500 in savings.

"We're pleased the NAD found the express claim was supported," she said. "Our intended message was substantiated."

Several media reports on the Wal-Mart campaign last year said people get the $2,500 savings by shopping at the retailer. And the NAD in its statement said the implied claim in the ads was precisely that: "Families that shop at Wal-Mart will save $2,500 per year more than families [that] shop at other stores."
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