Web 2.0 conventional wisdom portrays Wal-Mart’s foray into the online teen social networking space as a heavy handed corporate commercial ruse aiming to dupe savvy, hip Generation Y via unabashed consumerism or, as Mashable puts it:
It’s pretty much universally agreed that (Wal-Mart’s) TheHub was a complete failure…. marketing executives trying to get down with the kidz, users were referred to as “Hubsters” and the tagline was “school my way”..they totally misunderstood what’s cool these days…
Wal-Mart, one of the most successful companies in the world, is deemed to just not “get-it.” Wal-Mart apparently can get Web 2.0 teen social networking religion, however. To be “cool” and get instant “cred” all Wal-Mart has to do is get on the MySpace bandwagon, literally.
Mashable (author of last Spring’s MySpace manifesto “If You Don’t Get MySpace, You’re a Lametard”) puts forth a helpful “fast-track-to-cool” marketing plan for Wal-Mart via MySpace:
that doesn’t mean WalMart was wrong to pursue social networking as a marketing strategy - they could just step up their MySpace marketing (there’s already a Walmart profile), and start offering widgets, banners and buttons. Or copy Dasani and start distributing custom MySpace layouts. The WalMart brand isn’t very cool, but some of the products they sell (CDs, DVDs, MP3 players) are - something like the MySpace product slideshows from FavoriteThingz could work. Making WalMart cool is a big challenge and one that probably shouldn’t be tackled by out of touch marketers riding skateboards and listening to Avril Lavigne.
While Web 2.0 conventional wisdom may brand Wal-Mart’s straight-forward commercialism and “fake” profiles “uncool,” MySpace’s “friendship” wrapped commercialism and “fake” profiles are graced with the coveted “coolness” halo.
Wouldn’t the ultimate in cool be to diss ALL commercialism cum social networking?