by Max Brantley
That brand-new ad agency that Wal-Mart brought in? Or we should say was brought in by the suddenly-departed top ad exec at Wal-Mart Julie Roehm? The ones that produced a house ad featuring, as Claude Bahls put it yesterday, a real live pair of "humping lions"? They're toast. This promises to get juicier.
UPDATE: Yep, it got juicier. From NY Times:
It was a coup for Wal-Mart: hiring away a top marketing executive whose envelope-pushing advertising campaigns — like a lingerie-filled mock football game — generated big business and big buzz.
But a year later, that executive, Julie Roehm, is out of a top job at Wal-Mart amid allegations, which she denies, that she accepted gifts from ad agencies, maintained a personal relationship with a subordinate and showed favoritism toward potential vendors.
And there was this:
In one of her first assignments at the retailer, Ms. Roehm transformed Wal-Mart’s traditionally stodgy shareholder meeting into a three-hour Broadway extravaganza, hiring a troupe of New York actors who sang songs like “The Day That I Met Sam,” the company’s revered founder.
The show elicited groans from longtime company executives.
Several weeks ago, Ms. Roehm courted controversy again when she oversaw production of a holiday TV ad, known inside the company as “Sexy,” that portrayed a husband and wife discussing racy lingerie in front of their extended family. The ad drew customer complaints and was immediately taken off the air, a person involved in the matter said.
Note to Arkansas legislators: She also got the axe for accepting freebies from people pitching ideas to the company. Wal-Mart believes that amounts to undue influence. Why not do what Wal-Mart does in this area and adopt a similar ethics code?