Walmart Hires Disney VP as First Chief Creative Officer

Retailer also adds former Target exec to its marketing team
Photograph courtesy of Walmart

A creative executive who spearheaded collaboration across diverse retail, marketing, digital strategy and customer engagement teams at Disney has joined Walmart as the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer's first chief creative officer.

Jean Batthany takes the creative helm at Walmart after 4.5 years as VP of global creative at the Walt Disney Co., where she led Yellow Shoes, a creative agency for Disney parks, experiences and consumer products. In her new role at Walmart, according to a LinkedIn post, Batthany will direct consumer-focused communications across all channels and connect teams to "develop breakthrough and innovative marketing at all consumer touch points."

Batthany indicated on LinkedIn that she will remain based in Los Angeles and will travel back and forth to Bentonville, New York and San Francisco. Batthany said she was excited and humbled to join "such an impactful brand with huge scope, scale and heart."

Beyond Batthany's addition, Walmart hired Courtney Carlson, a former marketing executive at Under Armour and Target, to be SVP of marketing. A University of Minnesota grad with dual degrees in marketing and finance, Carlson at Target was senior director of marketing for private-label brands from 2012 to 2015 and a director of grocery, pet care and food expansion before that.

Walmart's goal of earning what it calls "primary destination status" with consumers, whether they're shopping in-stores or online, may be running up against some operational growing pains, R5 Capital analyst Scott Mushkin has noted. As the retailer works to keep up with a pandemic-accelerated surge in online fulfillment demands and build a network of automated fulfillment centers, inventory issues have remained a challenge, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon has acknowledged.

Walmart in January announced the rebranding of its growing media business, now known as Walmart Connect, and stated its ambition to be one of the top 10 advertising platforms in the U.S.—territory dominated by Google and archrival Amazon. In Walmart's network of thousands of stores across the country, the retailer said at the time, nearly 170,000 digital screens can deliver advertising messages often tailored to "date, time and geographic specificity" to better connect with local audiences. 

"More and more, I hear from our merchants they're thinking of their business in terms of a customer strategy rather than a channel strategy," McMillon said in November. 



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