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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Wal Mart's Christmas Pig

Proving once again that even a blind pig roots up a truffle once in a while, Wal Mart, which has the dubious distinction of being the largest retailer in world with no brand strategy, recently launched its holiday season with a pronounced good move:

They're bringing back Christmas.

Not that Christmas was ever really gone. It was almost sidelined by this country's obsession with political correctness. For years, everyone in America tiptoed around the fact that the vast majority of Americans were indeed Christians. For that matter, a third of the planet's population are fans of Jesus Christ. But that didn't slow down activist courts, attorneys and social activists demanding equal time for anyone whose seasonal holidays fell with a week of December 25.

Now comes Wal Mart, the store that seems to do everything wrong, with a Hail Mary shot across the bough of retail America, devoting real money and permanent ink to Christmas merchandise and store displays. The store that wishes it were Target (or anyone else) but refuses to develop its own brand strategy, finally scored with its amorphous audience by making it okay to stuff your stockings.

I doubt that it was the powerful performance of Passion of the Christ that moved this miracle. I believe it has a lot more to do with the winds of change currently sweeping across the country. In the past 24 hours, we've watched repudiated Republicans pack their bags as Democrats took their seats in not one, but both houses of Congress. Within minutes of that, the Secretary of Defense is on the next train out. Not too much sooner after that, the President himself is making friends with the very same people he associated with terrorism just a few days earlier.

Change is often fueled by anger. What the national elections showed us is that people are angry. Really angry. They're tired of being told to be sensitive. They're tired of repressing their own values. They're tired of the same 25 people featured as People magazines most beautiful.

What Americans want back is their freedom to be who and what they are. They no longer are willing to blindly follow the person who instills them with the most fear.

Most of all, they want Christmas back. And this time, they're going to find it where we'd least expect it: on the shelves of their local Wal Mart.

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