Walmart flips associate’s hopeful poem into new video ad

Dive Brief:

  • Walmart unveiled a new video ad starring an employee reading an original poem about working during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to details the company shared with Marketing Dive.
  • Terrell “Trizz” Myles, a department manager at a store in San Tan Valley, Arizona, recites his poem inside the store in the new ad, which was filmed after hours when the store was closed. The poem, “Hearts of Magic,” addresses the need for resiliency and strength during difficult times while offering a message of hope and connection.
  • The video features dynamic animation to complement Myles’ words. “Socially distant but mentally we’re holding hands,” reads the poem. “In this together whatever endeavor we will treasure the better times.” The brand is running the video across its social media channels and on the company blog.

Dive Insight:

Walmart has been spotlighting its employees in its marketing since the pandemic hit the U.S. in March, an approach that has also been adopted by several other brands. The ads come as recent research shows consumers are placing a higher value on brands that treat their employees well while unrest over workplace safety appears to be growing during the health crisis. These factors, as well as the shutdown of commercial filming productions, are contributing to marketers turning their focus to workers as part of their consumer-facing messaging strategy.

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Walmart has remained open as a resource to consumers throughout the crisis, and employees like Myles have continued to serve the public. The poem honors the retailer’s workers, as well as the public, in their efforts to do their part to stop the spread of coronavirus.​ By featuring a real-life employee, Walmart is humanizing its brand through its frontline workforce.

Myles joins other Walmart associates whose talents have been featured in the retailer’s national platform. In March, a group of associates singing Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me” was edited into the ad titled “Walmart Neighbors.” The spot features employees from around the country singing different parts of the song spliced together into one cohesive piece.

Meanwhile, Walmart has showcased employees in videos as a way to communicate its new cleaning procedures to make consumers feel safe shopping during the pandemic. In a YouTube video, Walmart Radio DJs explain the cleaning practices and social distancing measures that take place in the store.

A number of brands including PepsiCo, Ford and Lowe’s have highlighted essential workers in recent campaigns, be it their own employees or people in the healthcare sector. While these efforts can help brands connect with consumers who want the companies they buy from to value those risking their lives, it also means that brands could be held accountable to ensure that marketing messages line up with their company’s labor practices​ as the public focuses on appreciation for essential workers. For example, employees at McDonald’s and Popeyes have gone on strike as employees tested positive for the disease, yet the brands’ messaging positions them as supportive to the cause.

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