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Advantage Walmart: Giant Retailer Looking Warmer All The Time Compared with Ebeneezer Target

Posted by: David Kiley on December 8, 2005


Gotta love Walmart and its efforts to improve its image. It’s no secret that the giant retailer has long taken it on the chin from smaller rival Target, which has cultivated a better overall image. You know…Target is cool. Walmart is evil for all of the small businesses it forces into closure.

But Target has been held up as the Scrooge of retailing the last two years for banishing the poor Salvation Army soldiers from the front of its stores. Walmart, which was front-and-center on Katrina relief, is now advertising that it is embracing the Salvation Army in front of its stores.

Target last month publicized that shoppers could contribute to Salvation Army from its website. But somehow…well…it’s a bit less spiritual than letting the bell ringers ask for change out front of the store. In any case, Target made things worse by only letting its online shoppers donate gift cards or merchandise they buy to the Salvation Army. There is no, say, online kettle to donate money direct. Lame.

Walmart meantime increased its fund-raising time from 14 days to 28.

Here is a memo to both companies, but especially Target. If you are going to engage in a PR battle, it would help to be more…you know…cooperative with reporters who are interested in covering the company’s actions. Target is notoriously hostile to reporters. Meantime, Walmart, which used to have a similar stance, has been increasingly helpful and responsive over the last year or so.

Good reporters don’t play favorites. But as a practical matter, they do need their requests fielded and dealt with helpfully and on a timely basis. Every little bit helps.

In terms of Christmas spirit and PR: Advantage Walmart.

Reader Comments


December 9, 2005 1:57 PM

You're full of beans - Walmart still sucks!

Kevin Stirtz

December 15, 2005 5:28 PM

I'm no fan of Walmart but when you're right, you are right. Target got beat at their own game here and I hope they take note. I still like the Target brand better for a lot of reasons but kicking the Salvation Army out was a bad PR move. They should know better. Maybe they do now!


January 7, 2006 3:58 PM

The sad thing about Walmart charitable "donations" and "fund raising" is that this is coming from the same hourly associates who are the least able to afford it via automatic deductions from their paychecks as a result of company wide pressure to contribute. Very sad.

my opinion

February 28, 2006 10:20 PM

Did you know the bell ringers get paid more then most of the wally associates. It seems to me that more of the money donated would be put to use when using the online donaton method instead of paying the bell ringers hourly wage first. It seems to me that target has the right idea.


December 6, 2007 5:12 PM

The whole reason for your story is mentioned in one line:"Target is notoriously hostile to reporters"
Other than that, there is no story here...

Ranjit Mathoda

March 21, 2008 12:29 PM

You may find my post "Is Walmart really more evil than Google?" interesting:


May 21, 2009 10:18 AM

A key reason of not allowing Salvation Army, which does do some great work,to fundraise in front of Target is that the head of the Salvation Army had said that they were anti-homosexual and would not want to care for those who "practice" the homosexual lifestyle. Who needs a bigoted charity?

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News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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