Target, the nation's No. 3 discount chain, started the new year with a series of commercials pointing out its new low-price message. The new spots contrast with its previous branding spots, from those featuring pop art executions of the retailer's mascot dog in 1950's settings to its recent Gap-like holiday spots.
In one new spot, for example, a young musician prepares his living room for a blast of guitar music by lining the walls with toilet paper. In another, a ballet troop uses its toes to clean the floor with wipes.
Kmart struck first
Kmart also launched a campaign using animated "blue lights" dancing around its stores lowering "everyday prices."
Those spots, from agencies Interpublic Group of Cos.-backed Don Coleman Advertising, Southfield, Mich., and Omnicom Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York, mimicked Wal-Mart's long-running smiley face campaign.
Wal-Mart's agency for that campaign is Bernstein-Rein Advertising, Kansas City, Mo.
Target, which producesg its circulars in-house, works with a number of agencies for its broadcast and print campaigns.
Wall Street analysts, meanwhile, concerned about Kmart's long-term viability, have begun to note the price war strategy may not be working.