Meryl Streep may not be the only one to receive Oscar glory this season as Walmart receipts serve as the inspiration for short films for their commercial campaign. The directors have been chosen and the minds behind movies like "Training Day," "Monster's Ball," and "Sausage Party" are set to create stories from items on a nondescript Walmart receipt.
A running joke is that more affluent customers pay more to shop at stores like Target to avoid going to Walmart. The strangest new brand relationship to be forged in our young year of 2017 is the new connection between The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the prestigious film society that is responsible for the selection of the past years best films, and the greatest awards show: The Oscars. Elegance, Hollywood royalty, and golden statuettes are not exactly the themes Walmart has used in the past to connect to their customers.
The concept, sounding like an assignment from a creative writing professor, seems almost laughable when comparing the Oscars red carpet to a Walmart aisle. The Account managers at Saatchi & Saatchi, the ones responsible for the idea, probably understood the bad reputation Walmart has with many consumers. If I was an account manager I would have realized that it doesn't matter if you shop at Walmart or the slightly more affluent Target, we all watch the Oscars waiting for the live unplanned moments to happen and flood social media.
As TV ratings have declined over the past few years, live television seems to be the stronghold for classic television commercials to make their biggest impact. While some defend television contesting that as a whole TV still holds a very strong audience, account managers and media planners have planned for their biggest budget projects to be unveiled at these peak events such as awards shows and sport events.
The people behind this brand management seem to be following a new trend for Walmart. Previously Walmart has been reaching out to further their brand in more highbrow audiences. Walmart has recently sponsored film festivals in order to promote such themes as diversity in film production, casting, and has gone as far as to make a sizable donation to the Academy. Much like JC Penney, Walmart is trying to use it influence to secure the brands commercials in The Oscars lucrative ad space.
Walmart is not the only brand to tap into Oscar alumni. Wes Anderson's short film for H&M’s Winter line garnered a vast amount attention across social media platforms. Walmart has chosen three very different directors in order to tell their story. As an account manager fostering the relationship between Saatchi & Saatchi, Walmart, and the film directors is an extraordinary feat. Choosing the directors may have been a account challenge, ad space for the oscars is already high dollar.Time slots for the Oscar’s easily rivals the Super Bowl. It may have been the job of an account planner to point out that the directors chosen couldn’t have big names, which might explain why the Oscar nominated and winning directors won their awards in the early 2000’s.