Thursday, September 11, 2008

Walmart to air voting PSA on their network

On the heels of yesterday's story about the Ad Council looking for more digital out-of-home networks to air their commercials for mass-transit systems comes this press release indicating that Walmart will be putting their network to good use soon enough too:
As part of an ongoing effort to engage its customers and associates, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) will begin a voter registration campaign with public service announcements (PSAs) on its in-store television network later this month to encourage 136 million weekly customers and 1.4 million U.S. associates to register and vote in the November elections.

The campaign will include two, 15-second PSAs that will encourage viewers to register to vote and cast their ballots in the upcoming election. The PSAs will run in stores through Election Day.

The company will also launch a voter registration portal on its corporate website beginning today, and feature posters with voter registration information at nearly 600 Sam's Club U.S. locations.
Over the years I've seen the Walmart network run local emergency information pending hurricanes and tornadoes, and I've even seen spots focusing on community businesses and organizations. But this is the first time that I'm aware of that the retail giant has used their in-store TV network to help rock the vote. It makes perfect sense, of course - a huge percentage of people shop at a Walmart every week, but one has to wonder what's in it for the big W? The conspiracy theorist in me wonders if they determined that the audience most likely to see these in-store ads might vote for Walmart's preferred candidate.

On a related note, is it still Wal-Mart, or is it Walmart? I saw a news release a few weeks ago indicating that the company was switching to the second variant there, but today's press release still uses the older, hyphenated style? Which one is it?

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