How often can you say “Walmart” and “uplifting” in the same sentence without an “is anything but” in the middle? Judging by the abundance of Walmart-hate across the internet: very rarely. Over the last several years the store has consistently won the oh-so-prestigious award of “Best Place to See Questionably-Dressed People, Spoiled Food on the Floor, and Long Lines Rivaled Only By Disney World.” And of course there are always the ongoing debates over how they treat their employees and the topic of outsourcing to think about. Regardless of what you think about the store, though, it’s tough to ignore their latest commercial about overcoming obstacles (See it below)
You can’t tell that it’s an advertisement for Walmart until the very end, which I think is a smart idea on behalf of their agency, Saatchi & Saatchi. Make people feel all warm and fuzzy and then shock them with the fact that it was the dreaded Walmart that made them feel so nice. And while the commercial is really advertising Walmart’s commitment to American factories, I think the underlying “Don’t Give Up On Me” message was the most important and relevant aspect because it hinted at the company’s troubled brand image.
Some people will argue that the commercial is merely masking the problems of the company, and all it takes is some objective thinking to get over the initial warm and fuzzies. While maybe this is the stereotypical shrewd businessperson in me showing its face, isn’t that the point of advertising? No company is without problems, and it’s up to the ad team to make people forget about those problems by seeing the favorable aspects of a business. So on that front, I think it’s score 1 for Walmart this round.
Check out the ad for yourself, and feel free to let me hear your first impressions. Do you see Walmart in a different light? Or was the commercial not enough to change your mind about the company?