The Wal-Mart Story Continues…

You know, I simply cannot comprehend shit like this– This must-read article in Friday’s New York Times says quite a bit about Julie Roehm and her conduct:

While some of the details are in dispute, several people briefed on the matter said that Wal-Mart dismissed Ms. Roehm and a lower-ranking marketing colleague, Sean Womack, after deciding that the pair had a personal relationship that violated the company’s strict ethics policy, which forbids fraternizing with subordinates.
Ms. Roehm acknowledged that her style and ideas did raise eyebrows at Wal-Mart. “I think part of my persona is that I am an envelope pusher,” she said last night. “The idea of change in general can be uncomfortable for many people, and my persona as an agent of change can prompt that feeling.”

And it just gets more bizarre:

She was spotted taking a ride in an Aston Martin owned by the chief executive of one agency, Draft FCB. At another time, she was seen riding in a BMW convertible with the president of another, GSD&M, according to people familiar with the matter.
And she attended a September dinner given by Draft FCB at the Manhattan hot spot Nobu, during which she lavishly praised the ad agency and appeared to suggest it had the upper hand in the contest more than a month before an official announcement of the winner was due.
One agency executive familiar with the Wal-Mart agency search, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that Wal-Mart executives were “gagging and spitting and turning green” over the Nobu dinner because of the strict Wal-Mart rules that prohibit employees from accepting gifts of any kind — including drinks or meals — from a supplier or potential supplier.
After learning of such incidents, and the suspected relationship, Wal-Mart fired Ms. Roehm and Mr. Womack around noon on Monday in terse meetings at the company’s headquarters in Bentonville, Ark.

I’m speechless. Really. This chick must have some Jedi mind-trick shit working for her. And what kind of self-aborbed nitwit says things like “My persona as an agent of change…”? Can someone explain how Corporate America dumbasses fall for this nonsense?

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for Dan published the best of his columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.


  1. It’s all on AdScam… More than you’ll find anywhere else.

  2. I’m sorry, but Wal-Mart looks bad too. Clients and agencies go kissy face everyday. That’s business. But not in Bentonville. Bentonville is above such things. Whatever.

  3. Oh, I absolutely agree Wal-Mart looks bad. Considering how they’re often one of the “Most Admired Companies” when business mags do those kinds of polls, it’s very pathetic.

  4. It does seem like folks are making more of this than necessary. Anyone who operates at this level (or even lower rungs on the advertising industry food chain) has witnessed clients being wooed by agencies. She let the agency take her to dinner at a fancy restaurant? Call in the Marines. Having a relationship with a subordinate? Roehm’s gonna have to get in line — behind nearly every key leader in the business.

  5. Regardless of what goes on in the rest of the world, anyone who’s done research on Wal-Mart should know it has strict rules in this area. The company has forever operated under a moralistic sensibility enforced by the anti-Wal-Mart special interest groups on both the left and right sides of the political spectrum.
    Draft/FCB in particular should be understanding of such limits, given their work with Boeing. Any contractor for the U.S. government requires similarly strict guidelines on agency gifts, dinners and such. This isn’t something new to the agency. Even if they were lured into this by someone eager for wooing like Roehm, they should have known better.
    The big issue is the blow this brings to the Chicago advertising community and the people who were counting on those 180-plus jobs. Also, the chilling effect it could have on the agency in the eyes of new business consultants and companies with upcoming pitches. Draft/FCB owes the city an apology for screwing this up. I’m sure Mayor Daley, who made a special trip to the agency to congratulate them on their win, would likely agree.

  6. wholly_cow says:

    Perhaps as a renowned ‘envelope pusher’ she could wangle herself a Xmas job at the post-office

  7. theo kie
    No offense, but there may not be a more ridiculous term to attach to Wal-Mart than “moralistic sensibility.” This megastore has squashed countless mom-and-pop enterprises. Its cutthroat merchandising and shelf-space demands border on monopolistic. Its own employees feel abused on issues. Let’s not even talk about its international escapades. Maybe “militaristic sensibilities.” Or even “monopolistic sensibilities” or “monstrous sensibilities.” While we’re at it, substitute “sensibilities” with “insensitivities” or “sinisterly.” These guys made a smiley face downright contradictory.