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Walmart has announced that it launching a new national ad campaign - on television and in digital venues keyed to defining and describing "the real Walmart" and using customers and employees to spread the gospel. The campaign, the company says, "demonstrates how people across America count on Walmart to save money on the products they want and need, how the company provides tremendous career opportunities for its associates and how it creates efficiencies and works directly with manufacturers to help deliver low prices."

"We have wanted to do this for a long time because we know that people trust Walmart even more when they understand the opportunities we provide our associates, who the customers are that shop with us and how we deliver low prices," says Bill Simon, president and CEO of Walmart US. "Every month more than 60 percent of Americans shop at Walmart and we are proud to help them save money on what they want and need to build better lives for themselves and their families."

The Wall Street Journal, in its coverage of the new campaign, notes that Walmart is launching the initiative - which seems thematically similar to political advertising - at the same time as it is "facing criticism over bribery allegations, worker protests and conditions at the foreign factories that make its goods," and that the company is looking to redefine itself as "an American success story."
KC's View:
There would certainly seem to be disparate views of what "the real Walmart" is, and I think to some degree this campaign could serve to illuminate that debate. I think there are elements of both arguments that are true ... it is not hard for me to conceive of a Walmart as a complex organism fed by a wide range of influences, some of them good and some of them bad. Which, quite frankly, makes the company a quintessential American story.