Wal-Mart to Revamp Pharmacy Positioning via Big Multi-media Push

BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Get ready to see Wal-Mart's pharmacy operations in a whole new light. The world's largest retailer is prepping to unveil its largest pharmacy marketing effort ever, according to Kansas City, Mo.-based ad agency Bernstein-Rein, which is working with the chain on the project.

The agency also provided more details of the organics-focused campaign it's working on for Wal-Mart.

Dramatically different than anything else in the pharmacy category, the fully integrated campaign will include television, radio, print, outdoor, online, in-store and direct-mail components, as well as the Accent Health Network in physicians' offices. The first TV spot breaks throughout this week, the second spot breaks the week of July 31, and other elements roll out over the next couple of months.

Bernstein-Rein, one of the six largest independent advertising agencies in the country, said it has completely repositioned the department as "The Pharmacy At Wal-Mart" to help customers think of it as a full-service pharmacy staffed by experienced and knowledgeable pharmacists, with all the professional products available anywhere. The agency also created a new logo for The Pharmacy At Wal-Mart, along with handling all creative and media aspects of the campaign.

The campaign is broken into two target audiences: moms with children at home and senior citizens. While each campaign has a similar look and feel and both use the new logo, the executions are tailored to suit the different audiences, according to the ad agency. For moms, the message will emphasize time savings. The senior-focused advertising will convey the peace of mind that seniors get from knowledgeable pharmacists and Wal-Mart's national prescription network.

The "mom" commercial features CGI-animated pills of all different types (pills, capsules, gel caps, etc.) creating real-life objects, both animate and inanimate. For instance, there are flowers, a playground, a tennis ball, and a glass of lemonade all made from pills, but also a bumblebee, a bird, and a dragonfly.

The "seniors" commercial features oversize, animated pills in which leisure pursuits are played out by stylized live-action characters. In one pill, there are people gardening, in another, they're riding bikes, in a third playing golf and, finally, playing with grandchildren at a playground.

In related news, Bernstein-Rein said it is also breaking a brand new, 10-month-long marketing initiative for Wal-Mart's "Food" department this week. The agency's first phase is "Organics" with a fully integrated effort of national television, radio, online, and in-store components. Featuring the line "What will you bring to the table?", the campaign celebrates the fact that food brings people together.

The creative executions combine conversational wit with natural, colorful images of food. The one 30-second commercial will run on network TV and national cable, such as Food Network and HGTV. The three print ads, shot by German photographer Achim Lippoth, will appear in national women's service, parenting, health/wellness and epicurean magazines such as Real Simple, Parenting, Self and Cooking Light respectively, beginning with their August issue (on newsstands in July).

Bernstein-Rein has done food advertising for Wal-Mart for the past eight years, ever since the agency created the first Supercenter spot in 1998.
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