This past weekend, Walmart released an upbeat new commercial that positions its grocery offerings as a fresh, convenient weekday option for busy home cooks. The spot was crafted by Mono, the Minneapolis agency that previously held the Target grocery account.
Mono, which is minority-owned by MDC Partners, won Walmart’s grocery business in a competitive pitch in May, sources said. The account was previously held by the Martin Agency, which ended its 9-year relationship with the retailer in July when Publicis Groupe secured the lion's share of its business without a review. Mono declined comment for this article.
Target's former CMO Michael Francis, who is credited with spearheading Target’s successful "cheap chic" positioning, joined Walmart as a strategist last year. Mono created several well-regarded spots that portrayed that brand in an upscale light -- experience that may have weighed in its favor in the Walmart review.
It’s not clear what other portions of the Walmart business might now be in the hands of other agencies. When Publicis announced its win, the holding company was careful to specify that the relationship with Walmart was "not exclusive," though it didn’t specify the portions of the account in its possession, other than to say it "initially applies to Walmart’s US advertising and in-store creative." The win was touted as proof of concept for the "Power of One" strategy.
Walmart's PR is still handled by Golin, which, like the Martin Agency, is owned by the Interpublic Group. Lopez Negrete is still Walmart’s Hispanic agency of record.
Walmart sells more groceries than any other company in the country, but many surveys place it last in customer satisfaction. Since it’s tough to beat Walmart on price, the retail behemoth is looking to improve its reputation for quality, increasing organic and imported offerings and opening more than 600 small-scale "neighborhood" stores.
The new spot tackles this task head-on, making ample use of slow-motion knife shots and slow pans across glistening ingredients that wouldn’t be out of place in a Blue Apron ad or a branded video from Buzzfeed’s Tasty.