Few companies are as efficient as, or can negotiate a better price than Walmart. Their scrupulous attention to the details of business has made them the global powerhouse they are. But that level of corporate rigor doesn’t quite establish an emotional relationship with people. So in 2006, a large number of employees at Ogilvy explored how the WalMart brand could find a place in the hearts and minds in the general public.
My team began by exploring Walmart’s heritage for any elements which had untapped potential. We started with founder Sam Walton’s first store, which opened March 1951 in Bentonville Arkansas.
The initial word that came to mind was guileless: defined as innocent and without deception. But it wasn’t clumsy. It was clear and elegant. The typography was straightforward and simple, with the only decoration being the striped awning out front.
We took the stripes…
…made them Walmart blue…
…developed a custom typeface, based on the letterforms found on the original storefront…
…and combined them to create Walton’s, a democratic premium brand based on the company’s authentic roots, and designed to appeal to a wide range. From urban influencers to people stretching a paycheck.
We started simply. With baked goods.
Speaking of urban influencers… How could we modulate the Walton’s style cues to connect with this youthful audience?
The advantage of blue as a corporate color is that regardless of what shade you use, people always see it as blue. Light red becomes pink, and green comes with a range of adjectives, but blue is blue.
And that range of blue, could be combined with a variation of the stripes to make a youth-driven sub-brand…
WM… Walmart… women/men…
But if one target audience is urban influencers, then Walmart, usually a large building on a large plot of land, would have to go to them. It would have to open smaller evangelical/urban locations, where people could buy both style and essentials. It would have to reach out to youth-driven promoters and tastemakers like magazine editors, television producers, etc. Because if you tell your story to such influencers, they’ll sell it to their audience.
Agency: BIG / Ogilvy
Chief Creative Officer: Brian Collins
Senior Creative Director / Partner: Allen Hori
Creative direction, design: Mark Kingsley
Design: Kapono Chung, Peter Kaplan, Tad Kimball, Noah Venezia, Charles Watlington
Production: Jason Nuttall
Strategy: Gene Seidman