• Petitioned Michael T. Duke, President and Chief Executive Officer

This petition was delivered to:

WALMART
Michael T. Duke, President and Chief Executive Officer
WALMART
Eduardo Castro-Wright, Vice Chairman, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
WALMART
Thomas A. Mars, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, Walmart U.S.
WALMART
Michael J. Bender, President, Walmart West, Walmart U.S.
WALMART
David Cheesewright, President and CEO, Walmart Canada
WALMART
C. Douglas McMillon, President and CEO, Walmart International
WALMART
S. Robson Walton, Chairman of the Board of Directors
WALMART
William S. Simon, President and CEO, Walmart U.S.

STOP YOUR OFFENSIVE AND PREJUDICED CONGO AD

    1. Petition by

      Friends of the Congo

  1.  
  2.   
September 2011

Victory

In two short weeks, WalMart responded to this petition by pulling their advertisement and issuing an unreserved apology. From their letter:

“Thank you for writing to Mike Duke regarding one of our recent back-to-school ads. It has been removed both from television and from our websites, and we appreciate your bringing this issue to our attention.

Our customer base is broad and diverse, and we want to produce advertisements that will resonate well with all viewers. It is never our intention to offend our customers, and we apologize to those who were offended by this ad.”

Congratulations to everyone who took part in this campaign and help get this ad off the air.

 

On August 9th, 2011, Walmart released an ad for its Back-to-School campaign series titled “Urgent Care.” The video, originally posted on their Walmart YouTube channel, features three teenage boys communicating by smart phone to identify an unknown skin condition. As part of his diagnosis, the boy using Web MD as a medical reference asks the one with symptoms if he has “been in the Congo recently” while simultaneously browsing a page on “Leprosy.” When the answer is “no” he responds: “Okay, well it still might be contagious. I think maybe you should call 911.” The commercial is only 30 seconds long, but, in its brevity, it manages to misinform viewers, entrench negative stereotypes, and endorse a cavalier attitude about the conditions of serious struggle in the Congo.

Many mobilizing a global response to this ad. Facebook Group started on August 22 to protest Walmart has already garnered more the 2000 members, most of them Congolese, who are calling the ad an “insult,” “offensive,” and “utterly inappropriate.” The Congolese community is demanding that the corporation take responsibility for this ad by:

1. Remove the “Urgent Care” ad from all forms of media circulation (TV networks, web, etc.),
2. Issue a press release delivering a public apology to the Congolese people about the ad, and
3. Educate and sensitize a.) Walmart's staff (especially the Marketing Department who approved the release of this ad) and b.) Walmart's customers by providing teaching materials that explain the situation in the Congo and what Walmart is doing to practice responsible sourcing as it relates to the Congo’s mineral resources.

Eyewitness reports confirm that the commercial has been airing on tv from Houston to New York City, so the problem is not limited to internet exposure. A simple retraction is not likely to satisfy those who recognize the seriousness of such public misinformation.

Corporations like Walmart need to understand that the American public will not support companies who promote aggressive forms of ignorance, especially when it comes to an unreported conflict in the world. Congolese and activists everywhere await an official response from Walmart that acknowledges this serious offense and explains how the company will answer demands for taking responsibility.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. VICTORY: WALMART ISSUED A LETTER OF APOLOGY ON SEPTEMBER 16 RE: CONGO AD!

      WALMART - MARKETING
      Stephen Quinn, EVP & Chief Marketing Officer

      September 16, 2011

      Thank you for writing to Mike Duke regarding one of our recent back-to-school ads. It has been removed both from our television and from our websites, and we appreciate your bringing this issue to our attention.

      Our customer base is broad and diverse, and we want to produce advertisements that will resonate well with all viewers. It is never our intention to offend our customers, and we apologize to those who were offended by this ad.

      At Walmart, we value individuals of all cultures and backgrounds, and we have a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. As a global retailer, we have a responsibility to respect each person we come in contact with, whether that person is a customer, an associate or a member of a community where we serve.

      Listening to our customers and critics makes us a better company, and we thank you again for reaching out to us.

      Signed by Stephen Quinn

    2. Reached 250 signatures
    3. In the news!

      New article published on the San Francisco Bay View: "Call the doctor: Walmart needs urgent care for a bad case of ‘uh oh’ "

    4. Reached 10 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Michael Graczyk AUSTIN, TX
      • about 3 years ago

      That commercial isn't offensive at all. If somebody told me he had a sunburn because he went to Texas, I wouldn't bitch and moan about it.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Furaha Kisongo MINNEAPOLIS, MN
      • about 3 years ago

      The ad was very offensive and disrespectful to the Congolese people

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • naveline makela TORONTO, CANADA
      • about 3 years ago

      It degrading to any country,more so to a country that has been suffering the loss of many lives,women's,younger girls are raped,young boys are engaged in the wars.There is nothing to be joked about.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Lukusa Bashiya HAMILTON, OH
      • about 3 years ago

      I'm vigorously protesting against this racist, offensive and ridiculous Wal mart ad; they can count on ME for not shopping at wal mart for the rest of my life.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Jeffrey Cech PITTSBURGH, PA
      • about 3 years ago

      Ignorance about Africa and African Nations must stop. It leads to prejudice, apathy, and real human suffering.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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