An Inside Look At The Wal-Mart Pitch

BusinessWeek goes behind the scenes of the ongoing Wal-Mart Pitch.

With 138 million customers shopping its stores each week already, Wal-Mart isn’t necessarily interested in new advertising to lure in even more patrons. Instead, the retailer is looking to get its existing shoppers—many of whom frequent the store for a few key items such as low-margin hardware supplies and groceries—to “cross-shop” and move into the departments they rarely visit, filling their shopping carts higher than before.
“Driving traffic per se is not really Wal-Mart’s core marketing challenge,” said the brief, which was handed out to finalist agencies Draft FCB of Chicago (IPG); GSD&M of Austin, Tex. (OMC); The Martin Agency of Richmond, Va.; and Ogilvy & Mather (WPP) of New York at a meeting on Sept. 1. “The opportunity is to engage the customers who are in Wal-Mart stores to shop more categories,” says the brief.
During the week of Sept. 18, members of the Wal-Mart review team will visit each agency for a five-hour “shirt-sleeves work session” where agencies can brief Wal-Mart execs on their preliminary plans and solicit the Wal-Mart group for feedback and advice, according to the brief. Then, in an offsite meeting Oct. 9-10 in Bentonville, Ark., each agency will give a two-and-a-half-hour presentation, providing an overview of its strategy for Wal-Mart’s new brand position as well as specific plans for the assignment. Wal-Mart is expected to make its decision shortly afterward.



About Dan Goldgeier

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. Dan is also a columnist for and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.