Bigger Budget Backs Big Lots Rebranding Moves

SBC Advertising en-ters the third year of its effort to ease customers into Big Lots closeout stores with a substantially larger budget and the additional task of rebranding established chains under the Big Lots name.

The Westerville, Ohio, shop’s image campaign, which broke last week, backs a multipronged approach to rebranding Big Lots-owned McFrugal’s and Odd Lots as Big Lots. The Columbus, Ohio-based chain is putting $27 million behind its effort, well more than double its marketing outlay of previous years.

Three new spots in the image work, which brings back actor Jerry Van Dyke for his third year as company pitchman, will run in established markets. The spots will follow an introductory campaign that includes TV, print, radio and public relations in markets where the Big Lots name is new, said David Dennis, SBC’s president. The store is rebrand-ing approximately 300 of its 1,300 stores.

Big Lots is “the dominant player in the category, which we’re trying to establish as a meaningful and acceptable alternative for consumers,” Dennis said. The perception to overcome is “that you have to hide in the closet and be ashamed to shop” at closeout stores, Dennis acknowledged.

Spots take a confessional tone, with shoppers who have come around to the idea of shopping at a closeout store explaining the process.

“I didn’t speak ‘deal,’ ” says one woman, making the quote mark motion with her hands. “I didn’t speak ‘closeout,’ as it were.”

With the help of Van Dyke, she finds savings at Big Lots. “You don’t have to live with closeout envy,” she says, finally. “I know that now.”

Another spot has a couple who explain how Big Lots “saved the holiday for us.”

“It was scary to change, but then exhilarating,” the woman says.

Their dialog is interspersed with shots of them running into Van Dyke at the checkout counter, with the actor stuffing bills back into the man’s pocket thanks to the savings.