Yep. This is Wal-Mart.

In Springfield, Illinois, not far from where Barack Obama introduced Joe Biden as his vice presidential running mate, stands an attractive, custard-colored building adorned with red brick walkways, fountains, and two colonnades with quotations from Abraham Lincoln tastefully carved into them.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library? Nope. I’m talking about a new Wal-Mart that opened in July.

The latest addition to the Wal-Mart chain takes a bold (some might say blasphemous) approach of modeling itself after the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in downtown Springfield (pictured below):

I did a double take the first time I saw the Abraham Lincoln Wal-Mart rising from the flat prairie. What is this? Here stood a large, boxy, building, yes — but one with some energy and movement in the design of its front facade, with water fountains and a pond gracing the more functional-looking backside of the store.

By making its singnage understated, Wal-Mart risks causing just a tad bit of momentary confusion (“Is this a Wal-Mart, really?”), but the building attracts your attention straight off, which is important to getting the consumer engaged, obviously.

Yes, the building cannot escape the necessity of a large, bland parking lot in front. But closer to the building, at least you can enjoy wide brick walkways clearly designed to give pedestrians breathing space. Prominent colonnades feature quotes from our 16th president, such as. “People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.” I’m not sure Honest Abe had Wal-Mart shoppers in mind when he uttered those words, but so be it. (Perhaps a more appropriate Lincoln quote for Wal-Mart would have been, “If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business.”)

The new Springfield Wal-Mart is just another sign of how marketers and retailers are responding to a cluttered world of their own making by appealing to consumers through an experience that connects with you emotionally. There are only so many ways you can make merchandise attractive. Experience-based marketing makes the shopping environment itself, whether a digital or physical store, a fun and engaging destination, which is why it appeals so much to retailers (see Nike Town and American Girl Store). And now, even Wal-Mart.

Yep. This is Wal-Mart.

In Springfield, Illinois, not far from where Barack Obama introduced Joe Biden as his vice presidential running mate, stands an attractive, custard-colored building adorned with red brick walkways, fountains, and two colonnades with quotations from Abraham Lincoln tastefully carved into them.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library? Nope. I’m talking about a new Wal-Mart that opened in July.

The latest addition to the Wal-Mart chain takes a bold (some might say blasphemous) approach of modeling itself after the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in downtown Springfield (pictured below):

I did a double take the first time I saw the Abraham Lincoln Wal-Mart rising from the flat prairie. What is this? Here stood a large, boxy, building, yes — but one with some energy and movement in the design of its front facade, with water fountains and a pond gracing the more functional-looking backside of the store.

By making its singnage understated, Wal-Mart risks causing just a tad bit of momentary confusion (“Is this a Wal-Mart, really?”), but the building attracts your attention straight off, which is important to getting the consumer engaged, obviously.

Yes, the building cannot escape the necessity of a large, bland parking lot in front. But closer to the building, at least you can enjoy wide brick walkways clearly designed to give pedestrians breathing space. Prominent colonnades feature quotes from our 16th president, such as. “People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.” I’m not sure Honest Abe had Wal-Mart shoppers in mind when he uttered those words, but so be it. (Perhaps a more appropriate Lincoln quote for Wal-Mart would have been, “If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business.”)

The new Springfield Wal-Mart is just another sign of how marketers and retailers are responding to a cluttered world of their own making by appealing to consumers through an experience that connects with you emotionally. There are only so many ways you can make merchandise attractive. Experience-based marketing makes the shopping environment itself, whether a digital or physical store, a fun and engaging destination, which is why it appeals so much to retailers (see Nike Town and American Girl Store). And now, even Wal-Mart.

Avenue A | Razorfish, Pluck to develop social media offering

At AD:TECH Chicago August 5, Wendy Aldrich of Disney Parks and Resorts mentioned how Disney uses digital media to engage consumers wherever they they are. Her comments provide a fitting pretext for an August 6 announcement from my employer, Avenue A | Razorfish, and Pluck Corp., to develop a new hybrid digital marketing and social media offering that will help marketers better engage with consumers across the digital world.

The offering, code-named AdLife, will inject social media features like customer comments and user-generated content into digital advertisements such as banner ads or microsites – in effect, turning mainstream ads into social media opportunities distributed across the digital world.

For instance, let’s say you’re Disney Parks & Resorts, and you want to promote a new attraction at a theme park. With AdLife, Disney could launch a banner advertisement that enables consumers to review the new attraction itself by clicking on the ad, as well as read feedback from other vacationers, without ever leaving the point of display for the advertisement. Disney then might use AdLife to link that ad (plus user-generated content) to its own branded microsite, the Disney YouTube channel, or other properties where Disney consumers play.

AdLife is not a substitute for the cool experiences that Wendy shared, like the contest on YouTube where you can upload your favorite Disney park memories. What AdLife does is give Disney a way to combine mainstream and social media properties to engage consumers — and help them engage with each other — across the digital landscape.

The next step is for Avenue A | Razorfish and Pluck to work with marketers to do beta testing before making AdLife available. Meantime today’s news is a sign of how social media and advertising are converging. The enterprise has a rightful claim to employing social media and influencers to achieve its marketing and business objectives (what Avenue A | Razorfish calls Social Influence Marketing™). AdLife will help them do that.

For more information, feel free to contact me or my colleague Shiv Singh.

Avenue A | Razorfish, Pluck to develop social media offering

At AD:TECH Chicago August 5, Wendy Aldrich of Disney Parks and Resorts mentioned how Disney uses digital media to engage consumers wherever they they are. Her comments provide a fitting pretext for an August 6 announcement from my employer, Avenue A | Razorfish, and Pluck Corp., to develop a new hybrid digital marketing and social media offering that will help marketers better engage with consumers across the digital world.

The offering, code-named AdLife, will inject social media features like customer comments and user-generated content into digital advertisements such as banner ads or microsites – in effect, turning mainstream ads into social media opportunities distributed across the digital world.

For instance, let’s say you’re Disney Parks & Resorts, and you want to promote a new attraction at a theme park. With AdLife, Disney could launch a banner advertisement that enables consumers to review the new attraction itself by clicking on the ad, as well as read feedback from other vacationers, without ever leaving the point of display for the advertisement. Disney then might use AdLife to link that ad (plus user-generated content) to its own branded microsite, the Disney YouTube channel, or other properties where Disney consumers play.

AdLife is not a substitute for the cool experiences that Wendy shared, like the contest on YouTube where you can upload your favorite Disney park memories. What AdLife does is give Disney a way to combine mainstream and social media properties to engage consumers — and help them engage with each other — across the digital landscape.

The next step is for Avenue A | Razorfish and Pluck to work with marketers to do beta testing before making AdLife available. Meantime today’s news is a sign of how social media and advertising are converging. The enterprise has a rightful claim to employing social media and influencers to achieve its marketing and business objectives (what Avenue A | Razorfish calls Social Influence Marketing™). AdLife will help them do that.

For more information, feel free to contact me or my colleague Shiv Singh.