Walmart's Roehm Up To Her Old Publicity Marketing Ways

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.

Reader Comments

John

December 6, 2006 10:35 AM

Julie Roehm quit walmart ysterday! The same day that Joe Eberhardt, EVP of Marketing and Sales at DCX (her former company) quit. She still owns the home that she lived in when we she worked at DCX in and I doubt that this is all a bit of chance.......How long until the announcent comes that she is now the Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales at Diamler-Chrysler? I give it a week!

Jules Armstrong

December 6, 2006 9:55 PM

I worked on my MBA at Kellogg with Julie and have somewhat followed her career since. Clearly she is talented at marketing herself and crazy ideas but seems as though she just gets shuffled without real measurable results.

monkeyman

December 7, 2006 4:35 PM

Julie Roehm did not quit. She was fired. A few facts: she was/is having an affair with a direct report, Sean Womack (also unceremoniously fired). She received some sort of remuneration from DraftFCB in hopes of awarding them their $580 million advertising account. Which she in fact did. Wal-Mart just today pulled their business from DraftFCB. Just desserts all around.

Reuben Fray

December 7, 2006 10:16 PM

Julie Roehm didn't quit Walmart this week -she was fired and there's alot more to this story that's coming out. This afternoon, the $580 million account is now up for review again and FCB Draft, the agency that just won the business, will not be allowed to pitch it. Improprieties are what's suspected in them losing the account and Julie Roehm losing her job.

jocelyn

December 9, 2006 3:23 PM

She didnt quit .... she was fired for inappropiate behavior

Dick Horton

February 5, 2007 11:19 AM

AND THE VULTURES ZOOM IN.

bryan

February 6, 2007 10:29 AM

Julie was apparently fired for not being fired up enough on the challanges of her job, but rather the aura of whom she would choose to hand the 580 million walmart account to( ethically or not). Missing Friday meetings just goes to show how clueless she was/is. I would have hung my head in shame instead of bragging like she does in the piece in business week issue feb 12.
Rule number 1- Walmart did not become the world's largest retailer by accident.
Being in the marketing communications business myself, I know that Walmart delivers on its low prices most of the time. In fact the current positioning is flogging a dead horse because Walmart is synonomous with low prices.
To visit Walmart is like walking into a whole CV'S, Part Home Depot, Part Old Navy, part Toys R Us, Part Circuit City and part many other chains ALL AT ONCE.
The exact same pair of Jeans that retail at the mall for $ 30+ are available at walmart for under $ 20. Toys too are priced at 1/3 Toys r US costs.
But to appeal to an more upscale aydience, which Walmart can definitely target sucessfully, it is more than low prices, the brand perception needs to CHANGE. Small wonder therefore that the relatively new walmart in Danbury, CT has not been able to run the Marshal's- just steps away- out of business. The Marshal's proposition of brand names for less obviously continues to draw a very loyal repeat and new customer base. Clearly Walmart needs to move away from low prices,( people know it-- like it's ingrained in their heads) and focus on pulling in a more upscale demographic, which basically calls for a shift in positioning strategy.
Speaking of Chrysler, inspiration being standard is the most uninspiring and meaningless proposition ever, is that why thay are shutting down two plants Julie

anonymous coward

February 7, 2007 8:17 AM

Referring to the poster above - the one who "worked on his MBA at Kellogg with Julie" ...

She went to Chicago GSB, not Kellogg. Moron.


Dennis

September 9, 2007 2:35 PM

I like the way this jackass writer referred to the "invented war" of those politicially correct (including the writer of this article). I am like many who don't shop where Christmas trees are "holiday trees". Americans (at least 90- 95 percent) celebrate Christmas. This type of garbage is why I dropped my Businessweek subscription.

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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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