Walmart Commercial Misses the Mark, Barely

Prairie Gleanings

The "steak over" commercials are witty. I just wish they'd mentioned U.S. farmers.

Published on: August 15, 2012
Have you seen the Walmart “steak over” commercial? If not, check out the video below.

I first saw this during NBC’s primetime Olympic coverage. Clearly Walmart spent a pretty penny to put this in front of viewers. I love it; and I hate it.

Let’s discuss the love part first. I love how the mega-retailer is associating quality beef with value. I’ve long been a fan of delicious red meat at a bargain price. If you’re into grass-fed, hand-massaged, martini-sipping beef, good for you. I like my steak cheap and medium rare.

I’d wager many consumers fail to realize the difference between cuts. Thus, when a steak from Walmart doesn’t meet expectations, they likely shrug their shoulders and call it cheap. One big offender is the little vacuum-sealed packages that seem to contain filet mignon. I’ve bought one of those before. I’m not sure what was in it, but it didn’t taste like beef tenderloin. It was also way too cheap to be tenderloin.

Now, the bad. Like most U.S. grocery stores, I’d wager Walmart sources the majority of its beef from U.S. farmers. Since they make a big deal of the steaks being choice premium, I’d say there’s an even greater chance that they’re from domestic animals.

Yet, nowhere in the commercial do they mention where this beef comes from. I realize it’s only a 30-second spot, but just a sentence that included the word “farmers” would have been terrific.

If you doubt the importance of this oversight, listen to famed WGN broadcaster Orion Samuelson. At the Illinois State Fair’s Ag Day, he told a story about a Chicago woman calling in to his show. She asked why he kept harping on the drought. “We get our food from the grocery store, so what’s the big deal?”

Yes, many consumers still don’t see the connection. The University of Illinois surveyed students on different topics relating to agriculture. They got wildly different responses depending on whether they used the term “food” vs. “agriculture.”

So, when Walmart puts out a snazzy little bit like this during the Olympics, it would be nice for farmers to get a little recognition.