Wal-Mart Tries Humor for the Holidays

NEW YORK In what will likely be its last ad campaign for Wal-Mart after a 32-year relationship, agency Bernstein-Rein today is rolling out a holiday campaign for the retailer.

The effort, themed “Be Bright,” enlists Thank You for Smoking director Jason Reitman for 17 TV ads starring an extended family of 10 putative Wal-Mart consumers.

The ads employ a new approach for the retailer. “They’re self-contained episodes, like mini-sitcoms, and—in a first for Wal-Mart—use humor,” Steve Bernstein, COO of the Kansas City, Mo., agency, said in a statement.

Both the television and print ads seek to portray a wart-and-all look at the holidays. One print execution, for example, shows a middle-aged guy on a recliner, napping with a sandwich and plate on his chest and the headline, “Prices no one loses sleep over.”

Another shows an unshaven guy and his two kids posing for a picture under the headline, “It’s easier to give than to take.”

In August, Wal-Mart notified Bernstein-Rein that it did not make the cut in the retailer’s advertising account review. Last week, Interpublic Group’s DraftFCB in New York added creative duties on the estimated $570 million account [Adweek Online, Oct. 25].