Last year Walmart did a little something different with their ads during the Oscars, tapping several directors to tell stories using #TheReceipt from a WalMart shopping trip.
The campaign received some criticism for its all-male directors, so this year WalMart moved to fix that by inviting three women to direct their Oscar ads around The Box; the name used for each of the films as well as their simple prompt. What’s in the box? It might not matter so much as what’s happening around the box.
The shorts were directed by Dee Rees (Mudbound):
Nancy Meyers (Something’s Gotta Give):
and Melissa McCarthy (Mike and Molly):
Walmart is competing with Amazon, and their storytelling approach is meant to differentiate and endear them to younger shoppers who might be swayed by the convenience of Amazon shopping.
Alon Waks, vice president of marketing at CRM intelligence firm Kustomer discussed this approach in Marketing Dive:
“‘Shifting to a content-based approach, where the brand is featured as an ingredient, enables more traditional, less young or ‘cool’ brands to provide humorous, impactful and emotional ways to reach a younger audience, who shy away from traditional promotional advertising, he told Retail Dive in an email. ‘We saw this during Super Bowl ads and now with Walmart during the Oscars. Amazon with a focus on humorous elements of voice-activated shopping always relates back to their core value proposition of ease of purchase and personalization, while Walmart seems to try and bring a content-rich focus through providing stories that would resonate with a younger generation of shoppers.’”
So “The Box”, then, is both convenient and part of a bigger story about who the shopper is, who they want to be, and how they express that in who they choose to do business with. They’re also incredibly entertaining.