A Redesigned Sam’s Choice Boldly Re-Emerges at Walmart

Sams Choice frontOn May 19th of this year we reported on the re-emergence and re-design of the almost-dead Walmart Private Brand Sam’s Choice in the story, “The Power of Sam – Sam’s Choice Redesigned!” Since that time, the brand has slowly grown and there now appears to be a significant shift in Walmart Private Brand Strategy.

The new design for the brand can be found on numerous sku’s of pizza, organic canned vegetables and interestingly, premium chocolate chip cookies. That’s right, they have returned to the original 1990’s strategy.

Original Sams ChoiceIn 1991, Walmart introduced what was then called Sam’s American Choice. The brand was almost a carbon copy of President’s Choice from Loblaw, which came to Sam Walton’s attention through the legendary designer Don Watt. After a year of meetings, a deal was struck in which Loblaw agreed to develop a line of private label products under the Sam’s American Choice name, later shortened to Sam’s Choice, and then Great Value. The line contained items such as “Sam’s Cola” and “Sam’s Over 39% Chocolate Chip Cookies.”

Walmart Sams Choice - CookiesUnlike any other brand currently in the Walmart portfolio, Sam’s Choice is confident – each product boldly carries language that ties it directly to Walmart and their founder, Sam Walton.

“Our best. We strive to make America’s favorite foods taste even better. Inspired by our founder Sam Walton, we seek out quality ingredients and recipes to bring you your family’s favorite foods at Walmart’s everyday low prices.”

Along with a “More Taste Guarantee” that boasts “If you don’t love it, we’ll refund your money.”

Turn the package to the back panel and a brand and product story further emerges:

“Chocolate lovers rejoice. Sam’s Choice Extra Chocolate Chip Cookies are jam packed with our finest dark chocolate chips. Sit back and enjoy. For a warm, out-of-the-oven experience, warm one cookie in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. Or why not create the ultimate ice cream sandwich?”

This is not the traditional “compare and save”  Walmart private label.

Nor is it a more expensive version of Great Value the label that reduced the size of its logo to such a size it appears to hope customers won’t notice it.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing revolutionary about this. However, the reemergence of a confident Walmart-appropriate premium tier brand may well signal that they have put the 2009 Great Value redesign mishap behind them and have chosen to confidently move forward and build brands.

 



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Christopher Durham

Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan).

Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s.
Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago.

Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.