The Year Began With A Big Ad Blitz From Amazon. But Target Was Radio’s Top Retailer.

In the battle of the retail giants, Amazon aired more spots on TV and radio than rivals Target and Walmart during the first six weeks of 2022. But each of the Big Three divvied up their ad budgets differently with Target placing the heaviest emphasis on radio and broadcast TV while Amazon led the way on local cable TV. This is according to a new analysis conducted by Media Monitors of the spot volume of the three retailers from Jan. 1 – Feb. 14, 2022.

For its and Amazon Prime brands, Amazon aired a combined total of 140,828 instances across radio, broadcast television and local cable during the six-week period. Target was close behind the e-commerce company, airing 137,979 spots. But Walmart placed just 30,058 instances across all three media.

On the radio, Target ranked No. 1 with 17,570 spot occurrences during the first six weeks of the year. The retailer aired almost three times as many spots as the other two competitors combined – 3,377 for Amazon and 2,545 for Walmart.

Target also came out on top at broadcast TV. Target’s 77,498 spots were 763% more than Walmart, and 56% more than Amazon.

But on local cable, Amazon led the way, airing 88,641 spots. That was twice as many as Target and more than five times the number of instances aired by Walmart.

In addition to different media mixes, the three retail monsters employed different ad strategies during the period that includes a pair of major marketing benchmarks for brands: The Super Bowl and the 2022 Winter Olympics, both held in February.

“What we see in the first six weeks of 2022 are three different strategies at play,” said Media Monitors President and CEO Philippe Generali.

Amazon used the Super Bowl to promote its digital services – Amazon Alexa and Prime Video – rather than its retail products. Walmart chose the Olympics to launch a new brand campaign, with the majority of its spots airing on local cable and broadcast TV. Meanwhile, Target aired significantly more instances on broadcast TV than on radio or local cable.

“Walmart is bringing attention to the ‘live better’ part of its ‘Save Money. Live Better’ slogan with a new campaign that launched during the Olympics,” Generali said. “While the ad focuses on Walmart’s mission to serve the community during the ongoing pandemic, it also highlights features like groceries, pharmacy services and contact-free delivery via drone – all elements that make it competitive with Amazon and Target.”

Beyond Retail

Apart from plugging its core ecommerce business and Prime subscriptions, Amazon aired spots for its consumer electronics products and internet services, including Alexa, Echo and Fire TV, along with its music and video streaming services. The retailer also aired spots for Amazon Studios and AmazonFresh.

Prime Video spots alone represented 45% of Amazon’s overall number of instances for the period. And while Amazon aired just 289 spots promoting Alexa across radio, broadcast TV and local cable, the retailer maximized its reach with a much talked-about 60-second Super Bowl commercial starring Scarlett Johannson and Colin Jost.

The Super Bowl also featured two commercials for Prime Video: a 60-second spot for “The Rings of Power,” a new Lord of the Rings series, and a 30-second ad for “Thursday Night Football,” Amazon’s recent sports acquisition.

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