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Walmart Marketing Public Relations Campaign

Walmart has just launched a massive media and PR campaign in New York City involving print, online, on the air and direct mailing as communications channels to counter attack a City Council’s hearing analyzing the impact of a new store opened by the company in NYC. The campaign which also includes ads aired 14 radio stations comes just days before the hearing that will question the company’s plans.

Walmart’s campaign message states that “special interest” groups for pressuring the City Council to derail its efforts to open the store in NYC.

“Turn down new jobs and stop people from paying lower prices to satisfy some special interest?” the 60-second spot asks. “That’s everything people hate about politics.”

That campaign airing this ad and a second one that focuses on the retailers’ low prices will run for a week on 14 city radio stations, including WFAN, WCBS and WINS. A print ad promoting a Walmart-sponsored poll showing 71% of New Yorkers favor the retailer’s entry into the city will run in 30 community newspapers, and in the Daily News and New York Post. The company also said they will be sending direct mail to residents of 10 City Council districts, including that of Councilman Charles Barron, an declared opponent of the project that represents the East New York neighborhood where Walmart is considering placing the new store.

The areas targeted by the direct mail campaign are the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn, which fits Walmart’s strategy of focusing on areas where unemployment is high and fresh food options are low.

“Some New Yorkers have plenty of options when it comes to shopping,” the mailer reads. “We think you should too!”

All of the ads prompt New Yorkers to visit WalmartNYC.com, a website launched yesterday with the purpose of building a community of supporters. It contains various facts and figures about Walmart, a petition and select media coverage of the retailer. A hotline has also been set up for potential supporters that want to register their backing.

Starting next month, Walmart also plans to set up informational kiosks at local stores in Secaucus and North Bergen in New Jersey and Valley Stream, L.I., targeting New York City shoppers who travel to nearby stores and asking for their support.

This massive campaign was launched only two days before the City Council hearing that would be examining the potential impact of a Walmart on the city. While Walmart and some of their supporters have decided not to testify, an overwhelming number of those opposing the company have signed up to testify, including the head of the retail workers union; a professor from the University of Illinois at Chicago who argues Walmart’s Chicago store did not create jobs; and a lobbyist for the Gristedes supermarket chain. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio also announced he will issue a report by Hunter College that will argue Walmart has not created jobs in other markets across the USA.

In New York, Walmart’s primary PR agencies are Mercury Public Affairs & Edelman PR.

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