Wal-Mart launches month-long green campaign

Although Earth Day is April 22, Wal-Mart launched a month-long multimedia campaign to promote its green efforts and to encourage green shopping and other earth-friendly habits among its customers.

Although Earth Day is April 22, Wal-Mart launched a month-long multimedia campaign to promote its green efforts and to encourage green shopping and other earth-friendly habits among its customers.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is using the Earth Month campaign -- its largest sustainability campaign to date -- to interact with customers “through advertising, in-store displays and featured products to reinforce Wal-Mart's goal of making sustainable products available to them at prices they can afford,” said Tara Raddohl, senior communications manager at Wal-Mart, via e-mail. “The environment will be very top of mind for Wal-Mart's customers” at this time of the year, she added.

This story was first reported by DMNews, which is published by PRWeek's publisher Haymarket Media Inc.

This integrated approach is reflective of how Wal-Mart “is trying to be much more than a TV advertiser,” said Joe Alexander, SVP and creative director at the discount chain's agency of record The Martin Agency.

With a little bit of coordination, a message can be made to resonate across a variety of media, he added.

The Martin Agency will be taking a similar integrated approach with all of its seasonal initiatives for Wal-Mart this year, including summer, back-to-school and holiday.

For the Earth Month campaign, a series of seven 30-second TV spots focusing on different areas of sustainability will run throughout this month. Another central element of the campaign is a 16-page magalog titled “A budget-friendly guide to helping the planet” that was inserted into the May issues of several consumer magazines and which will also be handed out in Wal-Mart stores. More than 20 million magalogs will be circulated, Alexander said.

Throughout, the focus is on the affordability of being green when consumers shop at Wal-Mart.

The Martin Agency also created an Earth Month microsite which has several different URLs: www.walmart.com/earth, www.walmart.com/green and www.walmart.com/sustainability. TV, radio and online banner ads will drive consumers to the URLs, Alexander said.

This month, Wal-Mart shoppers will also find signs sharing information about the environmental benefits and impact of sustainable products. In-store signage will highlight small, affordable changes consumers can make on the environmental front. In addition, a product initiative will put more than 50 green products on Wal-Mart store shelves in April and more than 500 eco-friendly items online.

With this campaign, “Wal-Mart is bringing sustainability to place where it hasn't had a big impact,” Alexander said, adding that while sustainability has been a big issue in many bigger American cities, it hasn't taken on the same importance in smaller communities and rural areas.

The Earth Month campaign is just the latest in a series of steps by Wal-Mart to bolster its sustainability program. The merchant has been testing more environmentally-friendly stores in several locations over the past few years. It is also growing its selection of private-label products in this area, including compact fluorescent light bulbs and coffee that were sourced and roasted with sustainability in mind.

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