Walmart returns for another season of 'My Manny' sitcom shorts

Posted on Tue Jun 29 2010

My-manny

There's a question swirling around the would-be couple at the center of the My Manny videos that may be even more pressing than, "Will they or won't they hook up?" And it's this: "What will they buy at Walmart?" The retail behemoth is sponsoring this season of the branded entertainment shorts, airing on TBS during Tyler Perry's sitcom Meet the Browns and online. My Manny launches its fourth season on Wednesday with hardworking single mom Jennifer finally agreeing to date Mike, the "manny" to her young son, even though it may get complicated. Nothing a trip to Walmart can't fix! The marketer will have extensive product placement in the videos, including a Fourth of July shopping spree to get ready for a backyard barbecue. Walmart, which also sponsored last season's two-minute vignettes, has layered on an interactive shopping video on TBS.com, where fans can get information about the products shown in the sitcom-esque clips. Next up: Jennifer primps for a night out with cosmetics, jewelry and an outfit from Walmart, while Mike cruises the store to load up on toys/bribes for the kid, while Grandpa/new babysitter makes dinner from Walmart's vast fresh food supply. … Oh, this could go on and on. And it just might.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Walmart breathing fire into 'How to Train Your Dragon' marketing

Posted on Fri Mar 19 2010

Dragon

Hollywood continues to invade your local Walmart. The chain, which has whipped up special in-store boutiques for Twilight DVD releases, is now doing something similar with DreamWorks Animation. Ahead of next Friday's theatrical release of How to Train Your Dragon—an animated 3-D tale about a teenage Viking dragon-fighter—Walmart is setting aside big areas in its stores for a Viking Ship display and more than 100 licensed products. Months ago, manufacturers like Kraft, Kellogg, Pepsi and Spin Master began working directly with Walmart and DreamWorks to create custom products tied to the movie. The "dragon-ized" products your young Viking will be demanding include foam swords and helmets, apparel, skateboards, hooded towels, sunglasses and snacks. There's virtually no escaping the hype about this movie: Walmart has developed a How to Train Your Dragon activity book that will be distributed at 1,000 McDonald's sites within Walmart stores. And you New York City hipsters without a Walmart, don't be so smug: A 40-foot Viking ship is coming your way, with a two-day docking in the center of Times Square and an appearance by Ugly Betty's America Ferrera, who is one of the voices in the film.

—Posted by Noreen O'Leary

Walmart gearing up for its second big 'Twilight' soiree this Friday

Posted on Tue Mar 16 2010

New-moon

Bella Swan isn't the only one who wants more face time with a brooding and beautiful vampire. Walmart is back for its second consecutive bite out of the Twilight franchise, opening specialty store-within-store boutiques and planning blow-out parties for this Friday night when the DVD of The Twilight Saga: New Moon goes on sale at 12:01 a.m. The first go-around was massively successful, as the retail behemoth welcomed hundreds of thousands of Twi-hards and broke sales records. This time, the dedicated Twilight swag areas are already set up, and they include themed T-shirts, hoodies, messenger bags, jewelry, books, posters, board games, party snacks and dolls. And it's not just Bella and her soul(less)mate Edward Cullen who have starring spots. Jacob Black and the Wolfpack get equal billing. Team Jake! With 2,600 stores participating, imagine what this will do for Walmart's bottom line. That won't suck at all.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Chris Brown manages to make people feel sympathy for Walmart

Posted on Tue Dec 15 2009

Graffiti

Uh-oh. Chris Brown's anger-management issues have gotten him into trouble again. Rihanna's bruiser of an ex had a Twitter meltdown over the weekend, launching into a profane series of rants after going into a Connecticut Walmart and not seeing his new CD, Graffiti, on the shelves. He raged against retailers like Walmart and the music industry for not stocking the CD. Turns out the store had sold out of the album, with Walmart saying all of its stores have carried it since its release earlier this month. Brown has since shut down his Twitter account—probably a good move for media targets given to compulsive public outbursts.

—Posted by Noreen O'Leary

Save money, die better with a lovely funeral casket from Walmart

Posted on Tue Nov 10 2009

Casket1

Talk about an efficient and cost-cutting way of burying the dead. Walmart, it turns out, is now selling caskets and other human- and pet-funeral paraphernalia on its site, Walmart.com. (Star Legacy Funeral Network is the supplier.) Costco and Amazon already sell caskets online, but it's another thing when Walmart, the nation's largest big-box retailer, gets its feet wet in the business. Most of the coffins go for less than $2,000. And though saving money and spending wisely are the name of the game these days, one would think any penny-pinched consumer would at least spend a decent amount burying their dead. Walmart is great for toilet paper and detergent, but do you really want to tell family and friends you ordered Aunt Flora a Walmart casket? Then again, my two fishes—Week in Review and Table of Contents—died last month, and O.K. fine, I flushed them down the kitchen sink. So, maybe Walmart does have a point after all. A little dignity on the cheap never hurt.

—Posted by Elaine Wong

Walmart says it's the little things that matter, even at the holidays

Posted on Tue Nov 3 2009

Dave Muhlenfeld, the Martin Agency copywriter behind the FreeCreditReport songs and this catchy Coke/Walmart ad from last year, is at it again with an ad for Walmart celebrating the little things in life. What things? Like the way an e-mail can make you want to talk, or the way a little kid can make the world seem big. That kind of stuff. For Walmart, whose current tagline is "Save money, live better," the message is spot on, but then again, it is the holiday season, so maybe not. "They have a big inventory of spots, and most of them are holiday-centric," says Joe Alexander, svp and creative director at Martin, explaining why the spot is running only online right now. (Walmart put it on its Facebook page and on YouTube last week.) Too bad TV viewers won't see it, because the song is nice and hummable, the sentiment is very relevant this holiday season, and the photography is terrific. My only beef is the tactic of using several different actors to sing the song. Maybe it was that scene in the movie Magnolia, particularly the part with Jason Robards, that put me off that kind of thing, though I have to admit Flight of the Conchords put it to good use for their song "Hurt Feelings."

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

No one ends up looking too good on the 'People of Walmart' site

Posted on Tue Sep 1 2009

Walmart

Walmart made more than $400 billion last year, so a lot of people must shop there. But a new blog called People of Walmart (which you might find slow to load) would have you believe that such shoppers are a strange, mulleted tribe of badly dressed losers. At least, that seems to be the intent. This snobbish, people-oriented version of This Is Why You're Fat exposes consumerism at its ugliest, with badly lit photos and jeering commentary. But despite a flood of traffic to the site, the backlash has already begun. The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, for instance, took the site to task for going after the poor Walmart shoppers (which, of course, includes most of us). Instead, he advised the makers of the site to go after the people who run Walmart.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Miley Cyrus ropes Wal-Mart into her plan to destroy the universe

Posted on Thu Aug 6 2009

In case she hasn't already pervaded every aspect of your life, Miley Cyrus can now cover your entire body (or just the entire bodies of your young daughters). This whole spot for Miley Cyrus and Max Azria clothes at Wal-Mart just shows Cyrus being vain (taking a photo of herself, posing with a guitar, watching herself on TV) in multiple hideous outfits. The ad is also set to a song designed to make your ears bleed, keeping with Cyrus's style, with dreadful lyrics such as, "I'm noddin' my head like yeah," and weird effects that remind me of losing a life in Pac-Man. While it is quite scary that there are five of her in this commercial, one for each ensemble (and each nightmare I've had about her), possibly most frightening is the idea that unstable tweens everywhere will now be wrapped in Cyrus from head to toe. Prepare to cringe.

—Posted by Elana Glowatz

Wal-Mart challenged over the 'Unbeatable Prices' claim in its ads

Posted on Thu Jun 25 2009

We don't know how Wal-Mart's business practices can still outrage people, but the retailer's "Unbeatable Prices" ad claim is being disputed by competitor H-E-B Grocery Co. and the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. NAD (whose acronym needs to be rethought, and pronto) found that Wal-Mart's figure of $700 per year in grocery savings was a national average and shouldn't be applied to individual customers, and that this claim is presently unsubstantiated. Which is irresponsible of Wal-Mart, but it won't make them look any worse as a company than it did before. Really, after underpaying employees, locking them in stores overnight, eliminating full-time positions to cut healthcare costs, and suggesting that The Protocols of the Elders of Zion was legitimate until the Anti-Defamation League complained, fudging the results of a pricing survey isn't all that serious. We should probably be thankful that they've allowed enough competition to point these things out.

—Posted by David Kiefaber

Wal-Mart in a teenage-girl-like frenzy over 'Twilight' retail deal

Posted on Tue Feb 17 2009

Twilight copy

Wal-Mart, prepare for a fang-girl onslaught.
  The retailer has sealed a deal with Summit Entertainment to be the home of all things Twilight: the upcoming DVD, the posters of dreamy vamp Robert Pattinson, the goth-inspired jewelry and clothes, the best-selling teen-targeted book series and other tchotchkes. Wal-Mart plans dedicated Twilight stores-within-stores, and has set up a Web site to take pre-orders on the DVD (check out the countdown clock ticking down to March 21) and let fans chat and see behind-the-scenes footage of the film.
  Stephenie Meyer's four Twilight books have collectively sold more than 40 million copies. The movie was a sleeper hit last fall for new Hollywood mini-studio Summit. Its $70 million opening weekend was the highest ever recorded for a female director (Catherine Hardwicke), and the regular-girl-falls-for-smoking-hot-vampire tale has collected a staggering $357 million worldwide. A sequel, based on the second book, New Moon, will hit multiplexes in the fall. In the meantime, Wal-Mart stands to benefit from all that hormone-charged energy. It has to go somewhere.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley


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