By gabe | Gabe's Declaration of Principles May 12, 2006 at 3:58AM
Anyone watching TV this week has been bombarded with them dang cute CGI critters from the upcoming Dreamworks release OVER THE HEDGE.
It seems squirrels, chipmunks, turtles and other sprawl displaced wildlife enjoy shopping at Wal-Mart.
(The site also offers some Mother's Day wishes: "Moms, don't forget to visit www.walmart.com/summerstartshere to get summer planning tips, shopping lists, activity ideas and more.")
Marshalling the massive marketing muscle of a major corporate machine to promote a children's film is nothing new--McDonald's and Disney peddled MERMAID, MULAN and LION KING Happy Meals for a decade, before announcing that they will be divorcing.
Note the disclaimer: "McDonald's rejected a Los Angeles Times report that Disney wished to distance itself from so-called junk food."
What is note worthy is that this Wal-Mart campaign represents a new kind of broad-based "marketing alliance" in which hit hungry studios seek evermore creative ways to let the world know their new movie is opening.
In this climate, the shift from the "Billions and Billions Served" to the "World's Largest Retailer" is a no-brainer.
Irrespective of whether the promotion takes OVER THE HEDGE over the top, those who struck the deal were looking at the long term benefits of cozying up to Wal-Mart, which accounts for 37% of DVD sales in the U.S. After all, according to Variety
"Hollywood needs Wal-Mart a lot more than Wal-Mart needs Hollywood."