- Friday, Jan. 23, 2015
When a shopper strolls through the aisles of any Walmart store, he or she will certainly learn a thing or two about any item the giant chain stocks. Like how to prepare a special bowl of oatmeal. Or which fragrance to choose for that special evening out.
The content, delivered on aisle “end caps” screens and on overhead hanging displays, such as in a Walmart meat department, is carefully designed to “capture a shopper’s attention and deliver a pleasing message comparable to most TV spots,” says Chris Allen Williams, the director of these messages, and co-founder of Mad Box Post, Richmond, Virginia.
And, as expected, the Walmart in-store Smart Network business, managed by Richmond’s own Studio Squared, keeps Williams and the Mad Post team busy. Last year over 2,500 spots were created, and Williams/Mad Post was attached to many of them.
In addition to his directorial assignments, Williams, along with partner Matt West, handle all post-production including editorial, graphics, design, color grading and finishing. Red Amp produced the music, sound design and audio portions.
But Smart Network doesn’t represent typical commercial content. “Smart Network is an effective tool for educating the consumer about Walmart fare,” says Williams. “It’s pretty impressive. Sometimes they can simply be just motion graphics with voice-over or ‘take’ you to Hawaii or a small-town Christmas street. But you can stand in front of the end cap display and you’re always being very informed, like information about what is sometimes a new product or a product that might be exclusive to Walmart.”
Williams points out that in traditional advertising a director usually gets pigeon-holed into doing one thing. “With Smart Network, the wide diversity of products and creative approaches always keeps me on my toes and makes the job quite interesting and challenging. Often one week we can be doing an entire visual effects shoot, the next shooting a handful of kids, their parents and dog. No typecasting here.”