SBC’s Hands-On Task

Shop Uses Puppets To Shift Buying Patterns
CHICAGO–SBC Advertising moves from animation to puppetry for its latest TV campaign for discount retailer Big Lots/Odd Lots.
SBC’s previous advertising for the client introduced “Closeout Man,” an animated character who positioned the stores–which operate under the Big Lots and Odd Lots names, depending on the market–as having “once-in-a-lifetime” bargains. But that approach may have put too much emphasis on “once,” and the series of TV spots now rolling out in 31 markets nationwide is aimed at changing customers’ buying habits.
“The previous campaign tried to explain the concept, but it led to buying patterns that were less frequent than desired and focused on the biggest deals,” said Neil Widerschein, chief operating officer for Westerville, Ohio-based SBC. “The message now is that Big Lots has discount pricing on everyday merchandise with an eye to increasing the frequency of visits.”
Conveying that message is a cast of puppet characters who spread out all over the store, discovering bargains. The tagline is, “Might as well get the Big Lots price.”
The 30-second spots include 10-second donuts in which special price promotions can be inserted. The campaign will air at least through the end of the year, Widerschein said.
Big Lots parent Consolidated Stores Corp. in Columbus, Ohio, spent $8 million in 1997, according to Competitive Media Reporting.