Retail giant Walmart will run a series of ads during the Oscars for the second consecutive year, with the projects being helmed by only female directors.
Similar to last year, according to Variety, the company will produce short 60-second films during ABC’s Oscars broadcast, although this time the visuals will be solely directed by women, including Melissa McCarthy, Nancy Meyers, and Dee Rees.
However, the company denied that they are attempting to capitalize on the #MeToo movement that has seen numerous industry figures alleging sexual harassment against their male counterparts.
“We are aware of the conversation going on, but we are looking to be integrated authentically into the show,” says Walmart’s senior vice president for marketing Kristen Evans. “Being a part of a really entertaining night is the sole purpose of what we were trying to accomplish.”
Walmart will produce the ads in cooperation with the advocacy organization Women In Film Los Angeles, which seeks to promote women in the entertainment industry and rally against the co-called gender pay gap. The project will also involve “four up-and-coming female filmmakers” shadowing the three veteran helmets as they direct the ads.
“We haven’t always been front and center in these types of events,” said Walmart’s chief marketing officer Tony Rodgers. “We are trying to change that. We like the idea of Walmart as a brand being part of the public discourse and the public conversation.”
Last November, Variety revealed that ABC demanded between $2m to $2.6m for each 30-second ad, despite viewing figures for the star-studded awards ceremony being at their lowest since 2008.
Walmart is known for its pro-social justices leanings. Last December, the company began selling clothes from the far-left organization Antifa, but later removed the apparel following an outcry over the group’s regular use of violence.