Gen-Z, Millennial Momvertising Opps: Walmart's leaders consider media review (Score 77)

Walmart has announced that it's considering a media agency review; if the company does so, the new agency partner would handle a business worth $600m. Walmart's current media AOR, WPP's Haworth, has handled media buying and planning, strategy for brand integrations and strategic partnerships concerning marketing, media and entertainment for the past four years. Agencies shouldn't necessarily reach out right now. However, I suggest keeping Walmart on your radar for the next few months. We will, of course, keep you updated.

According to iSpot, Walmart has spent approximately $51.1m on national TV commercials YTD, down 12% from the approximately $57.8m it had spent by this point last year. Its 2021 commercials have targeted millennials (male skew) viewing programs such as NFL Football, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, NBA Basketball, The Voice and Late Night With Seth Meyers. Walmart spent approximately $488.4m on this channel in 2020, mostly in Q4, up 13% from the approximately $433.4m it spent in 2019.

You may remember that Walmart selected William White as CMO in April 2020. More recently (February 2021), it appointed marketing SVP Courtney Carlson; Carlson previously served as the head of NA marketing at Under Armour.

Pathmatics reports the company has allocated roughly $31.7m toward digital ads so far this year, a 20% increase from the roughly $26.4m it allocated within the same 2020 timeframe. YTD, Walmart has earned around 4.8b digital impressions via Facebook (42%), Instagram (23%), desktop display (23%), desktop video (6%) and mobile display (5%) ads. 59% of this year's desktop display ads were placed site direct onto Walmart's estimated full-year 2020 spend grew by 8% to $204.7m from that of $190.1m in 2019. 

Additionally, Magellan reveals Walmart (and all of its brands and career ads) has aired 507 podcast ads within the past 12 months. This is a sharp (217%) increase from the 160 podcast ads we reported the company aired from November 2019-November 2020.

Even though Walmart hasn't yet spend as much on national TV as it had by this point last year, its YOY spend rose notably in 2020; since most of this spend was allocated in Q4, the last quarter of 2021 may make its 2021 spend end up rising YOY as well.

Walmart is primarily targeting Gen-Z and millennials right now, judging by its increased digital ad spend, reliance on Facebook and Instagram advertising and usage of podcast ads. It tends to target parents, specifically moms. I've also seen Hulu ads, so you should also offer OTT ad space. Per Kantar data, Walmart additionally utilizes OOH, print, radio and local broadcast. The retail giant holds planning conversations in Q1 and buying conversations in Q4.

Agency & martech readers - As I briefly mentioned, keep Walmart on your radar for a future media review. If it does conduct one, it will likely be followed by additional agency reviews, and it would follow our suggestion that reviews would follow the company's appointment of CMO William White in April 2020. Right now, Lopez Negrete Communications handles digital, and Walmart has an in-house creative team.