Walmart with a Nice, Timely Tribute to the Troops

Older sister putting younger sister to bed with military mom watching

This Friday is Veterans Day and Walmart—yes, Walmart—has the perfect tribute. Have you seen their “Big Sister” commercial yet?

You can watch the video on Walmart’s Facebook page (without logging in).

Here’s how it goes:

<Older sister shows the younger how to brush her teeth.>

Sis #1: Mommy says brush up and down like this.

Sis #2: Like this?

<Older sister ties the shoes of the younger sister.>

Sis #1: Mommy taught me bunny ears.

<Older sister helps the younger sister hang an ornament on the Christmas tree.>

Sis #1: Try this one…Good job.

<The mother, dressed in military fatigues, appears in the doorway unnoticed by the kids.>

Sis #1: Goodnight Hailey. This one’s for me, and this one’s…

Sis #1 and the mother together: …for Mommy.

What makes this good is that it tells a story—like great advertising should.

At first, you really don’t know why the older sister is being so good to the younger one. You keep watching because the two girls are so cute together. And if you’re really paying attention, you know something’s up because each scene is a different season—summer, fall and winter. You have no idea it’s related to the military until near the end when the mother appears in the doorway.

The worst part of the whole video is the very end. I’ve seen two different versions of Walmart’s own message there.

  1. Thank you. Because of you, we’re all living better.
  2. To the troops returning home and those still serving, thank you. May you have a Merry Christmas.

The first one is nice and simple. Walmart did throw in a hint at their own tagline (Save money. Live better.), but I’m okay with that because it’s not overdone.

Now, here’s where the English major in me gets fussy—I’d like it better if they said “we all live better.” My first reaction to “we’re all living better” was “I know what you mean, but in this economy we are all not living better.” However, I can agree that because of our military always being ready to protect us, yes, we do live better. See the difference?

Of course, my problem with their tagline options really has nothing to do with what they say. I just think they missed an opportunity.

Walmart has us by the heartstrings at the end of this ad. So, what would have made this commercial even better is if they had partnered with a military charity and listed a donation website, text code or phone number. They post the video on their Facebook page, so they could easily list donation info there too.

Think about it. This video is a terrific reminder this holiday season of what our military families go through. They have endured a huge amount of stress and sacrifice for the past 10 years we’ve been at war. What do the rest of us do to help?

I’m going to make it easy for you, in case Walmart’s ad inspires you to help this holiday season. If you’re interested in giving your time or some money to help support military families, take your pick from the organizations below. After all, it is the holiday season. What better time to give?


The USO has many programs to help the troops, from entertainment, to care packages, welcome home greetings and more.

Operation First Response

Operation First Response helps wounded soldiers and their families meet personal and financial needs. It’s a fantastic organization that I volunteer with and support.

The Fisher House Foundation

Fisher House provides a “home away from home” for military families to visit and stay close to their injured loved ones. There’s at least one Fisher House at every military medical center.

Homes for Our Troops

Homes for Our Troops helps build and adapt homes for severely injured veterans—at no cost to that person or his or her family.


Thank you to all who serve in the military and to all the military families who sacrifice and endure as well. You continue to amaze and inspire me, and I pray for your happiness, health and safety every day.



  1. Ryan Gerardi (@yhurg) · November 8, 2011

    Way to kick it up a notch Coreen by including links to these causes.

    So, I did not even notice the text at the end, even after you pointed it out. Guess I was caught up in the drama of the video. I had to replay it to see it.

    Funny that you took note of the choice of words. I see your point and have to agree with your suggestion.

    • ctmarcom · November 8, 2011

      Thanks, Ryan! Yes, the noticing words like that is a hazard of my profession–I spot typos from a mile away too. What they said in their message is certainly not bad at all, it just could’ve been made better.

  2. tch1985 · November 18, 2011

    Hi there. My daughter’s name is Haleigh and I was a single mom deployed for Christmas in 2008. I instantly broke out into tears when I saw this commercial on my phone. My mom wrote a book for children about mommys who deploy. It is called “Just Till Mommy Comes Home” by Lori Kinney. She wrote it about our story because moms deploy too and children need to be taken care of.

    • ctmarcom · November 18, 2011

      That must’ve been so hard for you to be away at Christmas, hard for your daughter too. Though women in the military do have more visibility these days than before, many people do still forget that moms are overseas too. And I thought this commercial was a wonderful tribute to that. Is the book your mom wrote available for sale anywhere publicly? If so, please leave a link here and I’ll share that on my Twitter, Facebook and Google+ pages too.
      Thanks for your comment, and thanks for your service too. I truly admire women like you (and men too) who serve in the military. I know it’s not easy, but please know it is appreciated.

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