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Advertising Age reports that Walmart has hired four Hollywood directors - Antoine Fuqua, Marc Forster and filmmaking partners Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg - to make three 60-second "short films" based on the items and prices listed on a Walmart receipt.

The six items: bananas, paper towels, batteries, scooter, wrapping paper and video baby monitor.

The short films will run during the Academy Awards program on ABC on Sunday, February 26. It will be the first time Walmart has advertised on the Oscars broadcast.

""Being a part of the Academy Awards is a great way to connect with our customers in a fresh, new way," said Walmart U.S. Chief Marketing Officer Tony Rogers. "As the world's largest brand, and a company that sells just about everything, we plan to be more involved, more engrained in the cultural moments that our customers care about, starting with the Oscars ... We think of our business beyond simple transactions."


• The Wall Street Journal reports that "two years after raising minimum wages for store employees to $9 per hour, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is making adjustments to the way it hands out pay increases and trains store employees. The retailer will abbreviate a training program that new employees must complete to earn $10 per hour. The six-month program introduced last year will now take three months to complete, said company executives."

The company says it plans to stick with "an annual raise system it first implemented last year, in which most store employees get their raise on a single day. That changes a longtime practice of linking store employees’ annual raises to performance, doling them out on each employee’s hire-date anniversary ... This year employees hired on or before Oct. 31, 2016 will get a 2% raise on Feb. 18th.  Longtime workers who make the most their job title allows get a onetime lump sum of 2% of their annual pay, as they did last year."

Walmart says its average hourly salary is $13.69, or about $25,000 a year for a full-time employee.

The goal of the changes, the company says, is to help employees "advance faster" and become more skilled in their work, which hopefully will translate into better and more efficient store operations.
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