FCB's Walmart holiday work attempts to unify America

This is the outcome of a closed pitch by the retail giant who sought creative aid from a shop away from its AOR, Publicis.

Walmart has released a holiday spot from FCB following a closed pitch in which the brand challenged a number of shops to create a marketing drive anchored in the theme unifying America.

The special assignment was not in partnership with Walmart’s creative AOR, Publicis.

"Live Better. Together." dropped over Thanksgiving in the form of a 60-second TV spot that dominated holiday football ad space.

It features a montage of people helping each other through a myriad of tough times, including the aftermath of the El Paso Walmart mass shooting which left 22 dead. 

A description under the brand’s YouTube video reads: "Every day, we’re grateful that we get to see the sparks that make America shine. In our customers, in our associates, and in our communities."

Over the summer, this special assignment pitch caught the attention of many in adland keen to work with the retailer. 

A number of holding companies were aware of the brief but only a small number were invited to pitch by the brand. 

Sources at the time speculated that this project is a nod to Walmart's desire to shake up its marketing strategy and experiment outside of traditional advertising.

People with knowledge of the matter also said this work could pave the way for a closer relationship with Walmart once the new CMO is on board, with many predicting a major creative review in the near future -- a move seen all too often when a new marketing chief takes the helm at an organization.

Barbara Messing resigned as CMO on August 30. She was with the retail giant for around a year. Now, its marketing division is undergoing a restructuring. Michael Francis, former Target CMO, continues to consult with Walmart and is currently leading a team within the marketing department. Janey Whitside, Walmart's executive vice president and first chief customer officer, is leading the marketing organization.

A value of the Walmart account based on media spend is $820 million globally, according to COMvergence. 

At the time Campaign US reported this pitch, Walmart stressed that Publicis remains its agency of record.

A spokesperson said: "Across Walmart, we work with a number of agencies to provide support for our broad range of projects from time to time. It helps us gain valuable expertise in specific areas allowing us to create engaging campaigns that reach varying target audiences dependent upon the business or campaign.

"We are pleased with the work being done by Publicis through Department W. They remain our agency of record in the advertising space and there are no plans for change."

FCB referred the comment to the brand. Walmart has not yet responded.

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