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Walmart touts local offerings in new campaign

Big-box retailer looks to entrench its fresh concept among Canadian shoppers

Walmart Canada has launched a multimedia marketing campaign promoting its high-quality local foods.

The “Canadian Farms. Canadian Grocers. Walmart prices” campaign is anchored by a 30-second TV spot featuring a woman unpacking groceries from Walmart in preparation for her daughter’s first birthday dinner.

The items reflect the home province of various relatives, including tomatoes from Ontario, like grandpa Jeff; AAA Angus Beef from Alberta, like uncle John; and maple syrup from Quebec, like auntie Mary. The spot concludes with the woman realizing they forgot to buy a B.C. item, necessitating a return trip to Walmart.

Walmart Canada has been offering fresh groceries since first introducing its Supercentre concept in 2006 (today about 80% of its 410 Canadian stores are Supercentres) though vice-president of customer marketing Jennifer Stahlke says the retailer is “still in the process” of entrenching the fresh concept among Canadian shoppers.

“When we launched the Supercentres all those years ago, the [objective] was to drive the customer in more frequently,” says Stahlke. “To really capture their weekly shop, we’ve got to ensure they have a strong quality perception against our fresh offer. That’s really what’s going to drive the decision of where they’re going to shop.”

Stahlke says about 30% of Walmart’s fresh offering is comprised of locally-sourced produce, meat, dairy, etc., while the past three to four years have brought about what she calls a “significant” focus on getting more local products onto shelves.

“From a product offering perspective, we’ve always been very supportive of local,” she says. “This [campaign] is all about ensuring that our customers truly understand that we have it available to them.”

Tammy Sadinsky, Walmart’s VP of marketing communications, describes the company’s efforts around marketing local as a “marathon, not a sprint,” backed by a comprehensive program that includes in-store sampling, truck wraps and promotion in both its weekly flyer and in-house magazine, LiveBetter. In addition, in-store signage will feature the endorsement of local food groups including Foodland Ontario and Buy B.C.

The company is using audience data to promote its local offering to previous online shoppers at Walmart.ca.

“We believe that Canadians deserve access to high-quality food at low prices,” says Sadinsky. “We fundamentally believe that our brand is a democratizer in this country. Canadians want to feed their family high-quality food without compromise and having to worry about what they’re spending because they are on a budget.”

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