Walmart Rolls Out The Red Carpet For Oscar Fans

What retailers and brands can attract Oscar viewers?

Walmart is getting ready for its Oscar’s broadcast debut on Sunday with some help from stars like Seth Rogen who will direct four “mini-films” promoting the brand.

The retailer has unveiled a microsite to highlight those mini-movie spots its first appearance as a sponsor for the ABC’s Academy Awards. Titled The Receipt, Rogen and the three other directors  — Antoine Fuqua, Marc Forster, and Evan Goldberg — were given a list of items that they had to incorporate into their respective works.

Walmart Presents: The Receipt

The items on the receipt — which include bananas, batteries, a baby video monitor — are meant to suggest the random things that can be found at a local Walmart.

But the question remains: can an ad get people into a store.

It can if there’s the right affinity between the viewer and the brand.

And according to Foursquare’s look at who Oscar viewers are, Walmart’s spots could represent a breakthrough — or fall on deaf ears.

Oscar moviegoers are more likely than regular moviegoers to visit high-end retailers including Anthropologie, Bloomingdale’s, Crate and Barrel, J.Crew, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Urban Outfitters and West Elm, says Foursquare, which analyzed visit data for Foursquare Swarm users who checked in at least one Oscar-nominated film between August 2016 and February 2017 and compared it with visit data for Foursquare Swarm users who only checked in at non-Oscar-nominated films.

The disconnect between typical Oscar fans and Walmart shoppers was noted by marketing consultant Laura Ries, in an interview with USA Today:

“I think it’s a mismatch to be on the Oscars because it’s a high-end, glamorous event and Walmart is not glamorous,” says Ries, president of Ries and Ries, an Atlanta-based marketing and strategy firm. “As a mass advertiser, it’s getting very difficult to reach a mass audience. But you have to have the right message. . . Walmart is so entrenched in (people’s) minds as a low price leader, and that’s a powerful thing. But they’re trying to be something they’re not, and it’s not going to work.”

On the other hand,  branding analytics provider TrueAffinity suggests that Walmart may do better than previous retailers that have sponsored the Oscar’s.

Walmart has above average affinity (6.43) with the year’s Best Picture nominees than Kohl’s, last year’s sponsor, had in 2016. On average, TrueAffinity scores between Walmart and the 2017 nominees are 5 percent higher than Kohl’s already above average standing with the 2016 Best Picture hopefuls, writes TrueAffinity’s JT Compeau on Internet Retailer.

“If Walmart social engagers are already more likely to engage with any of the films on social,” Compeau says, “it only makes sense that a sponsorship built on creativity is already on its way to achieving success.”

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.