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Walmart Debuts New Ads In Charlotte; Targets Harris Teeter

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A screen shot of Walmart's website comparing their prices with Harris Teeter's.

http://66.225.205.104/SG20120301.mp3

A screen shot of Walmart's website comparing their prices with Harris Teeter's. Walmart is airing a new TV ad in Charlotte that was filmed at its North Tryon store. A host explains that a shopper - Amy - will recreate her most recent Harris Teeter shopping trip by buying the same things at Walmart. Most items were cheaper and the shopper saved about 10 percent at Walmart. Walmart spokeswoman Tara Raddohl says the commercial is the first of a brand new ad campaign from the company. She says other, similar ads that specifically name other local grocery competitors, will hit more cities later this year. Raddohl says Charlotte was picked to be first for a reason. "That's because we think it's a market where some customers would be surprised to learn how much they can save by shopping at Walmart compared to other chains in that area specifically," Raddohl says. The campaign also includes radio spots and a website. Raddohl says Walmart asked shoppers to apply to take the challenge. Then, based on those participants' feedback of where they shopped, the company set its sights on Mathews-based Harris Teeter. A spokeswoman there declined to be interviewed on tape. Jared Hensen, a UNC Charlotte marketing professor who used to work in marketing at Walmart headquarters, says Harris Teeter is right NOT to engage in a back and forth. After all, Walmart is the largest retailer in the world. Harris Teeter is 213th. Hensen's advice to Harris Teeter is this: "Keep focusing on the quality they're offering," he says. "The customer service, the cleanliness of its stores, the relationships in the community. And that's what will keep them going. Because there will always be people who will shop Walmart because of the cost, and who will shop Harris Teeter because of the quality." Walmart says the new ads will air for at least two more weeks in Charlotte. Raddohl says it's not clear how soon the ads will start in other cities.