Hey, Wal-Mart: These Are American Workers' Songs
PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- Well, Wal-Mart
A couple of days ago, I made the grave error of calling attention to my colleague Rocco Pendola's excellent piece Dear Wal-Mart: Rush Is Canadian. He pointed out the folly of the mega-retailer using Rush's song Working Man as a "warm and fuzzy Winter Olympics television advertisement" to "promote the merits of American workers."
Despite the fact that I didn't type so much as a comma in the article or make any argument about Wal-Mart's cross-border music outsourcing program myself, I received a little tap on the shoulder in the form of a tweet from Wal-Mart corporate itself. You know it's a big deal when the voice of the retail gods talks to you from the flagship Twitter handle and not through some sternly worded e-mail sent from a randomly selected member of its public relations or marketing staff.
@Notteham Working Man is a classic & we felt it best fit our jobs effort. We also support many U.S. bands in our ads. -MoniWalmart (@Walmart) February 19, 2014
This unsolicited critique naturally led me to a few questions:
@Walmart Just not the ads you target toward actual U.S. workers, eh?Jason Notte (@Notteham) February 19, 2014
@Walmart How long did your ad partners spend sifting through their music catalog? Can that time be counted in hours or minutes?Jason Notte (@Notteham) February 19, 2014
@Walmart Do you need help finding songs written by U.S. artists about working people? Are you that unfamiliar with both music and that themeJason Notte (@Notteham) February 19, 2014
That last one seemed particularly pertinent, given Wal-Mart's recent disagreements with employees. The discount chain has endured strikes on Black Friday, the National Labor Relations Board's decision that it illegally fired and reprimanded 70 workers who went on strike last summer, a federal court decision in Los Angeles demanding that Wal-Mart face trial for alleged rights violations at a California warehouse and, most recently, Wolfe Research's recent downgrade of Wal-Mart to underperform because of understaffing, erosion of its price advantage and increasing pressure from labor groups.