Wal-Mart Running For Office

According to the New York Times, Bentonville, Arkansas-based retail behemoth, Wal-Mart, is taking its “we’re good for America” spin to the airwaves.

Wal-Mart, under attack now from unions and prominent Democrats, yesterday introduced a marketing campaign that closely resembles the television advertisements used by political candidates.
In a local experiment (spots are running in Omaha and Tucson) that is eventually to be seen across the country, the giant discount retailer began broadcasting two television spots that, in unusually detailed terms, trumpet its health care plans, charitable contributions and positive impact on the American economy.
The ads do not attack Wal-Mart critics but introduce its merits, much as a candidate would. “Our low prices save the average working family $2,300 a year,” says the narrator of one ad. “Which buys a lot of things — and a whole lot of freedom.”

The article argues the ads reflect the influence of Edelman, the public relations firm Wal-Mart has hired to rehabilitate its image.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.