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‘Work is a Beautiful Thing’ proclaims born-again Walmart in new Saatchi New York epic

The growth of online media has given marketers opportunities they never had before to make what we might call ‘supporting’ films; because not everything needs tens of millions of premium airtime.

So one of the most obvious things to do is show what a good corporate citizen/mom lover/cat lover (delete where necessary) you are.

Giant US retailer Walmart hardly comes into the cuddly-wuddly category – paying low wages, flogging lots of guns, occasionally prone to acts of corporate naughtiness outside its US heartland. But it’s produced this rather good film, ‘Work is a Beautiful Thing,’ from Saatchi & Saatchi New York showing how it’s doing its ‘inclusive’ bit.

Patrick, the hero of the film, doesn’t actually work for Walmart but in one of the US factories the company says it’s committed to supporting. Actually it’s better than ‘good,’ Saatchi around the world is extremely skilled at these. Saatchi Italy recently produced a noteworthy effort for Down Syndrome (which seems to be Patrick’s issue).

So why the sense of unease?

Big companies need to show that they walk the walk as well. Has Walmart become a nicer, more responsible company? Will it maintain its commitment to American workers if the currency goes against it? As Zhou Enlai was reported as saying of the French Revolution (wrongly): “it’s too early to tell.”

But you can’t blame Saatchi for that.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

2 comments

  1. Yeah… It’s a nice spot, but the smell of hypocrisy is somewhat overpowering. Wal-Mart is notorious for low wages, to the point where a high percentage of its workers are on food stamps, their hours are reduced to avoid paying overtime, and they bring in goons to prevent unionization. So yeah, a nice job by Saatchi. But as Bill Bernbach once said, even good advertising can only sell a bad product once. And Wal-Mart is a bad product.
    Cheers/George “AdScam” Parker

  2. Nice film-making, but then Leni Riefenstahl also made good propaganda.

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