Union and church leaders have worked together to run Wake Up Walmart, an integrated campaign designed to shame Walmart into improving its labor policies and practices. The six-week ‘Hope for the Holidays’ campaign included prayer vigils, rallies and house parties involving over 5,000 supporters, the distribution of over 400,000 flyers covering 925 Wal-Mart stores, and a TV ad campaign asking the question, “Would Jesus shop at Walmart?”
The TV ad opens with a picture of a church, the sound of a choir humming, and a quote from Jesus, Luke 6:31, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Pastor Joe Phelps, of Highland Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, asks, “But if these are our values, can we continue to shop at Wal-Mart without insulting God?” He refers to media reports that Wal-Mart has violated child labor laws (New York Times) is being sued for gender-based discrimination, (Los Angeles Times) and 775,000 Walmart employees have no company health care (Boston Globe). “So as we celebrate Christmas together, search your heart. If these are Walmart’s values, would Jesus shop at Walmart? Should you?”
Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union has worked with Christian leaders to run a website, WakeUpWalMart.com. 130 clergy members signed a letter from the organisation asking Walmart to provide a higher standard of care for its employees and their families that would reflect the best of Christian values.
Walmart‘s own advertising regime is under a cloud with changes in marketing management and advertising agencies. Julie Roehm was hired in February as the new vice president of marketing communication. One of her first actions was to put the advertising account up for review, eliminating from the game Bernstein-Rein Advertising, Kansas City, Walmart’s agency for 32 years. DraftFCB, Chicago, won the $570 million account but lost a month later after Roehm was ‘let go’.
So what will be the new angle, apart from promoting good instore deals? Will it be more appeals to the freedom to shop wherever? Or will it be promoting improvements in staff welfare?