The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Target vs. Walmart

Discussion
Nov 04, 2014

Holiday commercials, created with the same goal in mind. Drum up consumer shopping excitement, reinforce the brand and send people marching through store doors or onto retailer websites. Some work brilliantly, while others result in plenty of clearance inventory once Christmas has passed.

In the RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge (now in its second year) we will offer up two commercials for you to critique throughout the season. In the end, we will put all the winners up for a vote to determine the merchant with the most to be cheerful about during this season of stress and, hopefully, cheer.

Up today are commercials from rivals Target and Walmart.

Which is better? You decide.

[Image: Alice in Marshmallow Land]

[Image: Gift List]

 

What do you think of Target’s “Alice in Marshmallow Land” and Walmart’s “Gift List” commercials? Which does the better job of connecting with each chain’s core customers?

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18 Comments on "The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Target vs. Walmart"


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Kevin Graff
Guest
7 years 6 months ago

Target: Pure emotional hook, speaking to the joys and magic of Christmas.

Walmart: Product/price push, speaking to the reality of the commercialization of Christmas (not saying that’s bad, just the reality for most).

Who wins? Both. Very different approaches speaking to two different customers.

Ed Rosenbaum
Guest
7 years 6 months ago

Hands down it is Target. How can you go wrong with children, pets and candy? Walmart was questionable to me when I saw it last night. Not impressive.

J. Peter Deeb
Guest
7 years 6 months ago

If you want to feel good watch the Target commercial. If you are a harried two-job household looking for gift ideas the Walmart ad will get you started. They are both attention getting—the Walmart ad gets my vote for its practicality.

Max Goldberg
Guest
7 years 6 months ago

Target’s commercial gets into the spirit and wonder of the holidays, while Walmart’s shows how it will save you money. As consumers still struggle with a sour economy, Walmart comes through. The ad reinforces their brand message and reassures consumers that shopping at Walmart is the smart thing to do. Target is trying to get it “Tarjay” mojo back, but while the spot feels good, it doesn’t deliver a consumer-friendly brand message. This round goes to Walmart.

Cathy Hotka
Guest
7 years 6 months ago

It’s a draw. What’s not to like—the adorable kid, and the immensely appealing Anthony Anderson? No losers here.

Mohamed Amer
Guest
Mohamed Amer
7 years 6 months ago

Emotional connection vs. transactional engagement. Imaginary dreams vs. rational decisions. Power of the season vs. power of reason.

Two completely different approaches that tap different parts of the brain. One feels good and downright gushy, the other solves practical problems of shopping the holidays.

My vote is Target, it’s more visceral and the emotional canvas they use so well is a prerequisite to building long-term connections and relationships between company and consumer. This goes to the heart of our humanity.

Gordon Arnold
Guest
7 years 6 months ago

Marshmallow Land is far from the specific area of concern that the formerly-loyal Target customer wants to hear about—Security Land is. Other than that it is a fun message with low value to shopper needs.

James Tenser
Guest
7 years 6 months ago

I’d bet Target’s core customer base would rate the Marshmallow ad highly in tests, but I wonder if it drives them to the store. Walmart’s ad, in contrast, is practical and solution-oriented.

I think I’d have to give Walmart the edge in this comparison.

Gene Hoffman
Guest
Gene Hoffman
7 years 6 months ago

Both commercials are effective with each chain’s core customers. Since I love both Alice in Wonderland and marshmallows, I give my nod to Target.

Then I ask myself what other buy-motivating factors will be in play during this holiday selling season to settle which company will be helped the most by such factors as price, gift giving and feel-good commercials.

Joellen Wheeler
Guest
Joellen Wheeler
7 years 6 months ago

Target—Christmas is all about the children!

Lee Peterson
Guest
7 years 6 months ago

One’s more emotional (Target) and the other’s more functional (Walmart), but to me, that makes both brand right. I think, whether you like one better than the other or not, that the agencies should be congratulated. Nice work.

But as is the case with most advertising, I doubt either will change shopping behavior—you’re either a Blue brand loyalist or a Red brand loyalist and no ad is going to change that without using the word “free.” (Just kidding, a little.)

Larry Negrich
Guest
7 years 6 months ago

Both of these commercials are appealing to the customer base of each retailer, while adding a little charm, and holiday spirit, and still managing to showcase a few products effectively. I lead toward the Target ad as the winner of this challenge as it conveys a little more holiday excitement and charm and associates it with the Target brand. Besides, somehow the agency was able to incorporate kids, dogs, and marshmallows in a holiday ad and not be cheesy—they should be rewarded for that effort in Holiday season sales.

Lee Kent
Guest
7 years 6 months ago

Walmart actually told us about some products but alas, ho hum delivery.

Target was fun and magical, but the focus was very girly, toys, food…tea party? Not sure they captured their core customer.

I’m gonna have to pass my 2 cents on these.

gary white
Guest
7 years 6 months ago

The Target commercial, if it’s one of a series of commercials to build off of, Target wins.
You always start with a kids theme first, this is the first person that purchases are made for in the family.

The Walmart commercial is good, but applies to later in the season, due to the variety of product categories and the need to decide who to buy for.

Laurie Verardo
Guest
Laurie Verardo
7 years 6 months ago

Target, by far, wins this one! Walmart’s was boring, whereas Target’s ad will keep the attention of adults but especially children.

Chuck Palmer
Guest
7 years 6 months ago

Inspiration vs. Procurement.

While I hesitate to invoke Maslow, these two, side-by-side, show clearly how each company engages their best customers’ needs.

Target is operating where it does best (at least in long-form video adverts) at the level of creativity and imagination. Walmart is playing into busy moms’ need to get stuff done—a list to be checked off so she can enjoy time with her family.

If I had to pick one, Target’s ad is more effective as it delivers the message of key items being available, but it taps into the broader emotional landscape of hope and joy we expect from the holiday season.

Kate Blake
Guest
Kate Blake
7 years 6 months ago

I can’t get the Target song out of my head!

John Gregory
Guest
John Gregory
7 years 6 months ago

Winner: Target. It’s amazing how they can bring products to life without once mentioning the brand names or prices represented. Great storytelling and engaging presentation, appropriate for the holidays.

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