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Big Lots Touts the Joy of Bargains

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Discount retailer Big Lots will launch a national $45 million TV campaign this week as part of a strategy to broaden the appeal of closeout shopping and raise the chain's name awareness.

Seven 30-second spots, via SBC Advertising in Columbus, Ohio, tout the fun of bargain shopping. "We are trying to balance the excitement a closeout shopper experiences when they find the deal they can't live without with a savings message," said Kent Larsson, Big Lots svp of marketing. "One of our objectives is to broaden our customer base and to bring closeout shopping to a broader audience."

The commercials, which will run through the end of the year, again feature actor Jerry Van Dyke, now in his sixth year as an affable, penny-pinching closeout expert.

Spots humorously dramatize the "closeout moment" in consumers' lives. In "Carpe Dealem," a woman says she had lost the will to shop. But after Van Dyke told her to "Carpe dealem" or "Seize the deal," she says, "I was seizin' all day. I can carpe dealem with the best of them!"

In "Deprived," a woman with a closeout-deprived childhood claims she felt isolated until she found Big Lots. "Change is good, especially when it's $10s and $20s," she says. The tag is, "Big Lots. Brand names. Closeout prices. Happy people."

Two more spots target Hispanic consumers. The ads will run on network and cable channels, including ABC Family, Lifetime and Court TV.