I love the title of this Advertising Age article: Wal-Mart Tries to Be MySpace-Seriously
. Because it's so apropos. If you were asked to name 50 companies poised to capture the hearts and minds of hip, young Americans, I doubt Wal-Mart would be on, or even anywhere near, your list. But that doesn't stop it from trying: The HUB (School Your Way)
is Wal-Mart's answer to MySpace, and it's worth partial credit at best. The HUB allows young Wal-Mart shoppers-the site seems aimed mostly at tweens-to put together their own personalized page with the opportunity to "win some fab prizes." They can also upload a video of themselves, but all content is rigidly controlled by Wal-Mart, so don't expect to see much in the way of free expression (oh, and the only teens featured on the site's front page are paid actors and models). In the end, Wal-Mart's HUB is-as thought it's not obvious-much less a social networking site (in fact, social networking features are all but absent) and much more an attempt by Wal-Mart to get kids to run its advertising campaign for it, and from the sounds of the Advertising Age article, kids aren't too interested, and I can see why.