Walmart has enlisted LeBron James’ mom, Gloria James, to tell her story of relying on friends, family and the community for food assistance when LeBron was growing up, in a new 60-second video to back its “Fight Hunger. Spark Change” program.
The spot, from Interpublic’s FCB Chicago, and set to debut on Monday during NBC’s “Today Show,” shows photos of LeBron and Gloria James as he was growing up near Cleveland. It represents a new tack in Walmart’s hunger relief efforts by focusing on how, when people don’t have to worry about food, it opens them up to be able to pursue other things, says spokeswoman Beth Bruce.
In the commercial, Gloria James shares how family, friends and others in the community helped put food on their table when LeBron was growing up, helping pave the way for achievements.
Given that a tough 2020 already made food insecurity more visible, Walmart marketers decided awareness was less of an issue and it was time for a different approach to focus on how overcoming food insecurity helps people “feed their hopes, dreams, possibilities and opportunities,” Bruce says.
The campaign will run through May 3 and include display, streaming audio, local radio, in-store signage and social media on Walmart channels, in addition to national TV. It’s part of a multi-year partnership between Walmart and the Los Angeles Lakers star to create and support programming that fights hunger and closes education gaps in communities. Among other things, James was a “counselor” at Walmart’s virtual summer camp last summer.