Walmart has been called many things in recent years. Inspirational has not often been one of them.
But the retailer's recent pledge to buy $250 billion in products made in America over the next 10 years has given it license to move into more high-minded, patriotic advertising—as seen in the Saatchi & Saatchi spot on the Olympics celebrating American manufacturing.
Now, the company takes that patriotic stance and gives it a serious emotional wallop in this remarkable new Web film from Saatchi, focusing on the story of Patrick—a true hero of an American factory worker.
Patrick was born with various disabilities but found the inner drive never to give up. Despite setbacks, he persevered and chased his dream of simply being a worker. "When I wanted to work, I got a job," he says in the voiceover. "It's a struggle every day. I still get up because work makes me feel like I'm reaching my goals. I'm part of a team."
The spot ends with some clever wordplay. "My whole life, people have been telling me I have a learning disability," Patrick says. "I guess they're right ... because I never learned how to give up."
That line echoes another Saatchi New York spot about a man overcoming challenges—the famous Duracell ad with Derrick Coleman. ("They didn't call my name, told me it was over," Coleman says in that spot. "But I've been deaf since I was 3, so I didn't listen.")
Asked about the similarities, Saatchi declined to comment. The spots are different enough, in any case, that it's hardly a ripoff. And if an agency is going to be inspired by something, let it be its own amazing work.
In light of Walmart's image problems in recent years, this manufacturing campaign seems to be striking a chord, even among some detractors. As one YouTube commenter reluctantly writes: "Seriously though, I dislike Walmart, but this was inspirational."
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, New York
Production Company: Anonymous Content
Director: Phillip Montgomery
Editing Company: Kyle Edit
Editor: William Zitser