Wal-Mart turns 50 this year—its birthday is July 7—and it remains a colossus even in middle-age: It’s the U.S.’s largest employer and one of its more significant advertisers. Its brand couldn’t be more distinctive or better defined, yet controversy attaches to the company by default due to its sheer size.It wasn’t that way in 1962 when Sam Walton opened his first store at 719 Walnut Avenue in Rogers, Ark. His Grand Opening ad (click to enlarge) was a mess of clashing typefaces, cliches and random imagery. The store’s name was carelessly placed. Part of the ad appears to have been clumsily cut with scissors from someone else’s ad.
The ad also foreshadowed Walton’s management style: He promised to remain open on July 4.
The store’s logo has evolved as well, as this chart (below) from Walmart’s history page shows.
Even though the company is a master marketer, it paid little attention to the design of its logos until 1992—long after other retail chains realised that consumers were both interested and delighted by well-designed shopping environments.
After the chart, check out the store founder Sam Walton ran before he opened his first “Wal-Mart,” Walton’s Five And Dime in Newport, Ark. Today, it’s a Walmart museum.
(Hat tip to Copyranter for noticing the ad.)
Here’s Walton’s Five And Dime:
Photo: Wikimedia, CC.
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