WAL-MART REBRANDS, PROMOTES PHARMACY

BENTONVILLE, Ark. - Wal-Mart Stores launched its largest national pharmacy marketing campaign to date this month.The mammoth effort encompasses television, radio, print, outdoor, online, in-store and direct-mail channels. It will also be run on the Accent Health television network in physicians' offices.Rebranded as "The Pharmacy at Wal-Mart," the retailer is positioning its in-store pharmacy department

BENTONVILLE, Ark. - Wal-Mart Stores launched its largest national pharmacy marketing campaign to date this month.

The mammoth effort encompasses television, radio, print, outdoor, online, in-store and direct-mail channels. It will also be run on the Accent Health television network in physicians' offices.

Rebranded as "The Pharmacy at Wal-Mart," the retailer is positioning its in-store pharmacy department as the answer for inexpensive, convenient and quality prescription service, particularly for moms and seniors.

"Print ads present a 'prescription for your life,' showing Wal-Mart as the pharmacy of choice for those budget-pressed consumers who, because of rising gas prices, need to get their shopping done all in one location to avoid unneeded trips all over town," said Wal-Mart spokesman Kevin Gardner. "Ads also present Wal-Mart as the pharmacy of choice for those with a tight time budget for the same reasons."

Wal-Mart's strategy will help to move the brand away from its "cheap stuff, smiley-face image," said Robert Passikoff, president, Brand Keys, New York. "There has been this kind of brand barrier that has kept people who go to Wal-Mart for packaged goods from buying other things, like clothing. By developing product and service offerings that are highly engaging, like pharmacy, customers will become exposed to the brand's different levels, giving the store more wallet-share overall."

The campaign's two target audiences, moms with children at home and senior citizens, will be appealed to through a new "The Pharmacy at Wal-Mart" logo as well as TV commercials featuring animated pills from ad agency Bernstein-Rein, Kansas City, Mo.

Wal-Mart's pharmacy brand was underdeveloped until now, Passikoff said. "Given all those years of just being the 'cheap stuff guys,' now they want to be something different and this new position is going to move the brand up the continuum a bit."

In the "mom" commercial, different types of pills come together to create real life objects like flowers and a playground, while in the "seniors" commercial, stylized live-action characters perform leisure activities like gardening and playing with grandchildren, from the inside of oversized animated pills.