Rival stores make themselves a Big Target

Simple messages and coupons are magic for newspaper media advertising, as ADvance research illustrates with a new study that gauges the impact of full-page executions by Target and Big W.



Target’s ad blends a retail message with a strong element of branding. Survey results found it stimulated talkability and memorability, and attracted customers to stores and online. The brand was bolstered by a positive, medium-term impact with research finding it improved readers’ familiarity with Target.

Big W

The Big W ad was a more traditional retail approach, combining a tactical homewares sale execution with a discount coupon to cut out and redeem. Respondents found the ad cluttered, failing to cut through the general noise. Yet the coupon had an immediate effect. Respondents felt strongly encouraged to buy from the store.

Different Styles

These retail ads employ different styles to attract customers. Big W went for hip-pocket impact with a strong offer to promote a mid-year homewares sale. It ran a full page ad, relying on deep discounts and a coupon to drive readers to the store.

Target also relied on large discounts for its “Big Autumn Sale” but executed this with a simpler visual, relying on text over imagery and recognition of its logo which, historically, the company has spent huge funds to promote.


The RoleMap

Six strategic advertising roles of newspapers have been validated both qualitatively and quantitatively by The Newspaper Works, resulting in the creation of RoleMap. For more information on this map, click here.


Both executions performed excellently in terms of driving call to action.

Big W had the strongest short term sales impact, the research found. The combination of a homewares sales with a coupon appealed to 49 per cent of readers, who said it gave them a reason to buy, or find out more. That beats the research norm by two and a half times.  The inclusion of a coupon for all in-store products elevated this score.

One respondent said: “Very clever ad. I prefer to see what is on offer. I did visit the store and purchase some items after seeing the ad, which I hadn’t planned to do.”

The Big W execution significantly outscored the retail ad norms in two other key areas – evoking good feelings about the brand (19% vs. 11% retail ad norm) and providing new information about the brand (41% vs. 27% retail ad norm).

The ActionMap

Newspapers are recognised as an effective medium for delivering a Call to Action. ActionMap, another proprietary newspaper metric, expands on this strategic role to provide an understanding of the types of action a newspaper ad inspires. For more information on ActionMap, click here.


The Target ad was on point with the retail ad norms across the category but did well on measures more often associated with brand-building.

It was almost twice as effective as the norm in memorability. Some 29 per cent of respondents said they would “remember for later”, compared with the retail norm of 15 per cent. One in five said they would tell their friends – that outperforms the average talkability metric by eight points.

More than a third of respondents (35%) said they were encouraged to visit a store and another fifth said they would jump online to check out the offers. Some 20 per cent said they would shop at Target based on the ad.

Power of a Coupon

While the Target ad performed strong against many of the research criteria, Big W was strong when the reader panel was asked whether its ad gave them a reason to buy. It achieved a 49 per cent response against Target’s 36 points. One in three (34%) of respondents said they’d visit Big W based on the ad. One in five (22%) would try to remember the ad for later, which was slightly under Target’s 29 per cent for the same criteria.

Brand equity


Neither ad made the brand seem different to others in the category – admittedly, a significant challenge – but both ads outperformed the retail ad norms for improving brand familiarity and making the brand appropriate for the reader.

One respondent said of the Big W ad: “It reflects the overall good image of Big W. It makes an offer that will appeal.”

Creative Diagnostics


In terms of aesthetics, Target’s uncluttered approach put it slightly higher than the retail ad norms. It outscored by seven points the 38 per cent average for clarity of message. One respondent said: “It is direct and clearly shows discounts on the essential things that I look for”.

The survey found Big W’s art was similar to other department store ads. One comment from the panel:  “There are so many deals you need to spend time sorting out which, if any, are appropriate for me.”

For Big W, the inclusion of six sale items and a sale voucher may have been too much information for readers to take in for one execution.

Quote, Unquote

More readers on Target

 “It is a bright red ad, which allows for the Target branding to be shown. The title of the ad was a bit in your face, but it is a good ad.”

“The ad was not overly eye-catching, but as someone familiar with the store it would prompt me to visit.”

“The ad is to the point regarding brands and discounts, so you don’t need to look too hard, but it’s not that different to similar stores.”

More readers on Big W

“It is eye-catching, love the circles with the prices in it, as it is a discount store that focuses on lowest prices and good bargains. It reminds me of the TV ads.

“It is showing Big W has great savings at the moment and that is worthwhile. It is not much different from other discount store ads.”

“Great ad. It reflects the overall good image of the Big W brand. It makes an offer that will attract many. There is a lot of information.”



Leave a comment