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An equal opportunity promoter

Target took it to some leading brands in its weekly ad on Sunday where it devoted a full page to a side-by-side price comparison between its Up&Up brand and leaders of their respective categories such as Clorox, Similac, Reynolds Wrap, Tums, Jergens and Nyquil. It was the second week in a row Target has promoted Up&Up in its weekly circular except last week, the brand was featured on the cover with a reminder that Up&Up offers “unbeatable prices on over 900 quality products every day.”

In the price comparison from this past week, featured brands included:

  • Clorox 75-count disinfecting wipes for $3.99 vs. $3.59 for 75-count Up&Up.

  • 23.2-oz. Similac formula for $21 vs. $18.89 for 40-oz. Up & Up.

  • 200-sq.-ft. Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil for $7.49 versus $6.34 for 200-sq.-ft. Up & Up.

  • 10-oz Nyquil liquid for $4.99 vs. $2.99 for 10-oz. Up & Up.

  • 21-oz. Jergens Ultra Healing lotion for $5 vs. $4.14 for a 21-oz. Up & Up lotion.

  • 96-count Tums antacid vs. $2.49 for Up & Up antacid.

Now the conventional wisdom offered by Mommy bloggers and advocacy groups such as Consumer Reports is that the use of store brands represents a smart money saving strategy. Consequently, appearing in a side-by-side price comparison ad of a major national retail would have to be regarded as a nightmare scenario, right?

Well, the answer is not as obvious as it might seem for a couple reasons. Purchasing Up&Up represents a risk for many consumers who have a prior history with Nyquil and know it will alleviate their cold symptoms or that Jergens will make their hands soft or that Tums quiets an upset stomach. There is also the possibility that the featured national brand might actually be cheaper or about the same price for a consumer in possession of a coupon. And speaking of cheap, Up&Up tends to look cheap when photos of the store brand are placed next to those of national brands in a print ad, all of which makes being selected for inclusion in a side-by-side comparison not such a bad place to be.