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New anti-Wal-Mart ads target 'Southerners,' 'Republicans'

WakeUpWalMart.com launches $1M ad campaign pitching the message that Wal-Mart fosters anti-American values by doing business with China.


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- On the eve of Wal-Mart's annual shareholders meeting, union-backed watchdog group WakeUpWalMart.com announced Thursday a new million-dollar campaign targeting what it claims are the retailer's core customers of "Southerners and conservative Republicans."

The group said the three-month "Summer Southern Blitz" campaign will consist of a series of television ads and grassroots actions intended to highlight the message that Wal-Mart's (Charts, Fortune 500) "values are not [truly] Southern or Republican."

What's more, WakeUpWalMart's latest initiative against the world's largest retailer aims to make the case that Wal-Mart values its business with China more than American jobs and national security, Paul Blank, campaign director for WakeUpWalMart.com, said in a statement.

The first ad, entitled "It's Just Not American," uses an image of Sam Walton and an American flag waving in the background and announces that once "Sam Walton's Wal-Mart was an American company."

"The ad goes on to state that "as [the U.S.] trade deficit grows and middle class American jobs are shipped overseas, Wal-Mart and China get stronger ... America gets weaker." The ad ends with the message,"Wal-Mart, it's just not American anymore."

In March, the same group, which is funded by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union, launched a TV ad that featured images of a nuclear explosion and Osama bin Laden to suggest that the retailer is putting America's security at risk by opposing scanning of cargo containers at the nation's ports.

Wal-Mart responded by calling the ad's claims "factually incorrect."

To be sure, Wal-Mart remains a lightning rod for groups like WakeUpWalMart.com and Wal-Mart Watch that have attacked the company over its pay, hiring and health care policies.

For its part, Wal-Mart has initiated some reforms over the past year. The company has cut by half the waiting time for its part-time workers to get health insurance and has taken steps to become more environmentally friendly. Top of page

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