Posted by: David Kiley on November 17, 2006
First, I saw Walmart’s advertising honcho Julie Roehm on The O’Reilly Factor vamping for Bill O’Reilly about how Walmart was going to be proudly marketing Christmas trees and Christmas merchandise and not Holiday trees and such. Bill was shooting back love glances from his Irish baby blues, as he notched a victory on his belt in his invented war against the invented foe of “secular progressives.” You may remember that O’Reilly concocted this imaginary war last year as he went on the warpath against retailers who chose to sell “holiday” merchandise instead of “Christmas” stuff.
Then, this morning, a press release from Walmart about how a staffer of John Edwards, the former Senator and Presidential hopeful, inquired to a Walmart about getting a Sony Playstation on the same day that Edwards was having a media event in which he talked about how bad Walmart is to its workers. The facts of that incident is that a young staffer was acting on his own in the hopes of securing a Playstation either for himself or one of the Edwards children. I don’t know about you readers, but I have had interns and staffers who did dumb things on their own without thinking in the hopes of scoring some points with the boss.
I could be wrong, but it looks like Ms. Roehm is using her well-known imagination for attention grabbing marketing at her new gig. You may recall Ms. Roehm’s past endeavors at Chrysler—-sponsoring the Super Bowl Lingerie Bowl, a Chrysler ad in which a Mom left-handedly tells her adolescent daughter that her little brother was conceived in the car, and an ad that implied spouse swapping between neighbors.
The punch at Edwards and cave-in to O’Reilly might imply Walmart is flexing its well-known conservative leanings. But let’s not forget that Walmart, on Roehm’s watch, also hired an agency to market to gays and transgender consumers. That little move has had this blog swamped with as many comments as we have gotten over the AFA’s boycott of Ford over its support of gay media.
Ms. Roehm does know how to get her brands noticed.