In a novel branded entertainment move, Walmart is making its star turn and advertising debut at this year’s Oscars with four directors’ three films based on the humble receipt.
Four award-winning directors—Antoine Fuqua, Marc Forster, and filmmaking partners Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg—were given a creative brief to create a 60-second short film that would air during Sunday’s Academy Awards telecast on ABC.
Each of three films use six items from a fictional Walmart receipt: bananas, paper towels, batteries, scooter, wrapping paper and a video baby monitor.
“Being a part of the Academy Awards is a great way to connect with our customers in a fresh, new way,” Walmart US CMO Tony Rogers told Ad Age. “As the world’s largest brand, and a company that sells just about everything, we plan to be more involved, more engrained in the cultural moments that our customers care about, starting with the Oscars.”
Rogers said the campaign, which Walmart is teasing on its website, is an “unexpected way of telling our brand story” and “a perfect fit for a night where compelling storytelling is celebrated,” and each receipt tells a tale “as diverse as the customer who shops us. We think of our business beyond simple transactions.”
As for Sunday, “This was a wonderful challenge from Walmart,” said Fuqua, in Ad Age. The director of Academy Award-winning film Training Day, among others, added that the opportunity let him “tell an extraordinary story shaped around six ordinary objects.”
Fuqua told The Hollywood Reporter that Walmart emphasized “no restrictions” for the original narratives. “The concept, really, for me was keeping imagination and wonderment alive—the key to storytelling.”
Forster, who directed Monster’s Ball and Kite Runner, said, “The uniqueness of this challenge from Walmart allowed me to exercise my passion for storytelling in a very exciting way by crafting a story that revolves around people’s everyday needs, wants and desires.”
The multi-year sponsorship of the Oscars by Walmart includes a $250,000 donation to The Academy Grants Program for FilmCraft in the name of the participating directors and “demonstrates Walmart’s continual commitment to diversity in filmmaking,” the company said.
Walmart’s promise, “Save Money. Live Better.” will be on full display at the Oscar’s, one receipt at a time. Below, check out the three short films and how the retailer teased the campaign on Twitter:
— Walmart (@Walmart) February 20, 2017
— Walmart (@Walmart) February 11, 2017