Retail Therapy: Wal-Mart's secret recipe for store traffic? Free cupcakes

Free food emerges as brick-and-mortar's savior, the paper towel industry gets its own Rosie Riveter, and more in this week’s Retail Therapy.

This week in retail, free food emerged as brick-and-mortar's savior, Brawny rolled out a controversial rebrand for Women's History Month and a man named Crook met his destiny.

This, and more, in this week’s Retail Therapy.

The Rosie Riveter of paper towels

Consider her the Rosie Riveter of the paper towel industry. At least that’s what Brawny hopes you think of the new face of its brand — a long-haired woman sporting a red checkered flannel and bold red lipstick.

In honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, the paper towel brand replaced its iconic burly man of a mascot for the month of March as part of its #StrengthHasNoGender campaign.

"There are women and girls everywhere who exhibit strength and resilience in their lives,” Frances Morgan, senior brand manager at Georgia-Pacific, the maker of Brawny, told Good Housekeeping. “And that's the inspiration behind the Brawny #StrengthHasNoGender campaign."

Well, it's about time a consumer brand empowered women to be the face of clean households everywhere.

The marketing ploy did not please all women, some of whom turned to Twitter to vent about a campaign that reinforces traditional gender roles.

Wal-Mart's secret recipe for store traffic

Brick-and-mortar retailers of all shapes and sizes face a similar struggle in the digital age — getting real-life shoppers into their stores.

From face-painting to bullriding, Wal-Mart has tried just about everything to lure consumers into stores. But it turns out big-box retailers can learn a thing or two from local mom-and-pop shops that have long understood you don’t need bucking bulls to get people to show up — you just need free food.

This Sunday, March 12, Thrillist reports that Wal-Mart Supercenters plan to collectively give away nearly three million free cupcakes to customers who show up between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. — ostensibly, in celebration of everyone's birthday. "Birthdays are a big deal," Walmart said in a statement.

Talk about a sweet deal. Beat that, Amazon. 

Hating on the Kardashians

There are some people that would really, really, really, really rather not keep up with the Kardashians — and Carl Puia is definitely one of them.

Puia, who hails from Glastonbury, CT, holds a particularly strong hatred for Kim Kardashian West, who last year published a photobook titled, “Selfish.” And that's exactly what Puia thinks of Kim and her kin, and he took out his rage on his local Barnes and Noble store for selling the book. 

In “vehement opposition” to the celebrity’s fame, a local newspaper reported that Puia spread an "unidentified red liquid" on six copies of Kim’s book and left store associates with a lengthy typewritten note detailing his deep concern that the bookstore was selling out by putting the book on its shelves.

In the words of Kim herself: “Sometimes you just have to let people grow up on their own. Even if you know what's best for them. They will look back and realize their mistakes.” 


The Crook prophecy

With a name like James Crook, it's little coincidence that he would have a run-in with the law at some point. The man's destiny was written on the wall long before Nashville officials arrested him at a Wal-Mart for attempting to load $340 worth of items into a suitcase.

46-year-old Crook had previously snatched a box of bed sheets from another Wal-Mart and later tried to return them. The man apparently has a thing for stolen sheets. He was also seen stealing sheets, a laptop, recording microphones and perfume from a woman's home in January, Fox 17 reports — a bizarre haul, to be sure. 

For now, Crook is being held at the Davidson County Jail. No word yet on whether he's managed to steal the bed sheets from his cell, but police are on high alert.

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Filed Under: Consumer Trends
Top image credit: Flickr; jillian nicole