- Walmart will make its first appearance as a Super Bowl advertiser with a 60-second spot promoting the retail giant's pickup service, the company announced on its website. An extended two-minute version of the "Famous Visitors" commercial appears on YouTube.
- The ad highlights the convenience of Walmart's pickup service as a series of out-of-this-world visitors take advantage of it, with characters from popular sci-fi TV shows and films making cameo appearances. For instance, Buzz Lightyear from "Toy Story" shows up in his spaceship and Bill S. Preston, Esq. from "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" lands in his time-traveling telephone booth. Additional featured films include "Arrival," "Blade Runner," "Guardians of the Galaxy, "The LEGO Movie," "Mars Attacks," "Men in Black," "Star Trek" and "Star Wars."
- Walmart said it will broadcast a special message to visitors after the spot airs on Sunday and that it will promote the ad in advance of the game on radio, social media and in-store TV screens. Viewers can also follow Walmart on Twitter during the game, when it will engage with some of the characters. The "Famous Visitors" campaign will continue after the game with additional content.
Walmart is heavily promoting its pickup service amid intense competition from Amazon's delivery service, and as a growing number of grocery and other retailers introduce their own pickup services. The retailer launched its pickup service in 2014 and continues to expand in this area. As of Jan. 31, 2019, the company had more than 2,100 Grocery Pickup locations and nearly 800 Grocery Delivery locations, per its annual report.
Walmart wants to support consumers' cross-channel shopping behaviors and illustrate how easy it can be to shop online and quickly pick up orders.
"We’re leveraging technology and improving processes to reduce friction for customers, who are increasingly shopping in an omni fashion," said Brett Biggs, executive vice president and CFO at Walmart, in the annual report. "We continue to see proof points that give us the confidence that we are moving in the right direction, including improved customer satisfaction."
The company generated $514 billion in revenues last year, up from $485.9 billion in 2017, and attributed some of this growth to omnichannel shopping.
"As we’ve elevated the customer experience in stores, we’ve seen strong momentum with four years of positive comp sales and traffic growth in Walmart U.S.," Biggs continued. "Our stores will continue to be an important part of the future as we leverage physical assets to grow online grocery pickup and delivery and increasingly use them to fulfill ecommerce orders."
This year's Super Bowl is attracting many first-time advertisers, with Walmart joining a list that also includes Saucony, Little Caesars, Facebook, Pop-Tarts and Reese's. The number of first-time advertisers is noticeably higher compared to last year, which could reflect a strong focus by marketers on popular live broadcast events as a way to get in front of large general audiences at a time when there is significant fragmentation due to the growing popularity of streaming.
With "Famous Visitors," Walmart appears to be trying to repeat the success it had last year with its "Famous Cars" ad that debuted during the 2019 Golden Globes and was one of the most popular ads of the evening. In that ad, famous vehicles such as Scooby Doo's Mystery Machine van, the Ghostbusters' Ectomobile and Knightrider's KITT picked up groceries from the retailer.