Walmart hosts virtual summer camp, drive-in movies to keep families entertained

Dive Brief:

  • Walmart is hosting a virtual summer camp and drive-in movie experience to connect with families who are stuck at home this summer, the company announced. Camp by Walmart will be available starting July 8 through the retailer’s mobile app.
  • Drew Barrymore, Neil Patrick Harris, LeBron James, Idina Menzel and Todd Oldham will host video sessions that include arts and crafts, fitness, musical Mad Libs and teaching performance skills.
  • The retail giant also partnered with Tribeca Enterprises to create a touring drive-in movie theater that will turn Walmart parking lots into outdoor cinemas. Beginning in August and running through October, the brand will host movie nights in 160 stores across the country, offering a contact-free drive-in movie experience.

Dive Insight:

Walmart’s latest marketing efforts are designed to provide an entertainment outlet for families that are struggling to balance work life with home life this summer, as venues like camps remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. By centering its virtual camp video sessions in its app, the brand could spur more downloads and eventually purchases through a mobile channel that is increasingly important as consumers remain wary of in-store shopping due to the novel coronavirus. 

Another draw for the summer camp programming could be the team of celebrities Walmart has enlisted to develop original programming that contains educational or entertaining content. Actor Neil Patrick Harris, for instance, created “Neil’s Charades” and musical Mad Libs for kids to watch with their parents. Basketball star LeBron James will share skills for bettering mental and physical health during the lockdown perios. Singer and actress Idina Menzel will teach singing, while actress Drew Barrymore will provide makeup tutorials.

At the same time, the drive-in movie nights could help people get reacquainted with going out and making trips to Walmart store locations. The experiences additionally emphasize areas of Walmart’s business that the big box retailer is investing more heavily in, and looking for more consumers to adopt. 

The site promoting the movie nights makes it easy for families to order snacks online ahead of time, and then use curbside pickup when they arrive. Walmart recently altered its curbside pickup policies to let consumers shop across multiple departments at once, including its Walmart Grocery division, in response to the coronavirus, as reported in USA Today. Walmart aims to more closely integrate its shopping apps as mobile orders and e-commerce sales continue to spike. 

The movie screenings, which will take place from New York to California, will include films such as “Wonder Woman” and “Space Jam,” with the selections intended to appeal to a wide audience.

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