NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Bye-bye, Mr. Smiley Guy.
In its first big push from its new shop, Martin Agency, the Bentonville behemoth is scrapping its happy-face logo, which has been in use for 19 years, from its TV spots and trading in its "Always Low Prices" motto for a new one. The new tagline, "Save Money. Live Better," will be rolled out onto everything from receipts to shopping bags.
The push features 30-second TV spots running across several dayparts and on four fall-season premieres -- "Dancing with the Stars," "Desperate Housewives," "Grey's Anatomy" and "Ugly Betty" -- plus episodes this week of other prime-time shows.
Back to low-price approach
Wal-Mart's new tack signals a scaling back of recent attempts to go upscale, and marks a return to its traditional emphasis on low prices. The ads aren't product-heavy, however, and instead focus on how shopping at Wal-Mart throughout the year can help families save -- an average of $2,500 a year, according to research by Global Insight -- so families can afford to make other extravagant purchases.
"By saving on a lot of the little things we buy every day, the savings can add up to some pretty big things -- like a car for your son, a wedding for your daughter, or a trip to Orlando for the whole family," Steve Bassett, the ad campaign's creative director, said in a statement.
"'Save Money. Live Better' is more than just a tagline for Wal-Mart," said Stephen Quinn, the retailer's exec VP-chief marketing officer. "It's our mission statement summed up in four important words."
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Editor's Note: According to Wal-Mart, the retailer is not dropping the smiley face logo entirely, as previously reported. While the logo does not appear in new ads from the Martin Agency, John Simley, director-media relations, has told Ad Age that "Wal-Mart has used the logo in various ways for decades and has no plans to discontinue it. In fact, the company has several pending trademark applications for the logo."