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Walmart to pitch ad business to large corporations, marketing firms

Walmart Inc. will pitch its advertising business to consumer goods companies and advertising firms in New York, marking the U.S. retail giant's first effort to grow its burgeoning advertising business, Reuters reported May 22, citing an interview with a company executive.

The move comes around seven months after Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon told analysts that the company has "a tiny ad business," hinting that "it could be bigger."

Top marketing and advertising firms, as well as big companies, including The Procter & Gamble Co., Unilever PLC, Coca-Cola Co., Mattel Inc., GlaxoSmithKline PLC and NBC Universal LLC, are expected to attend Walmart's event, dubbed "5260," Reuters said, citing sources familiar with the matter.

The event is named after Walmart's store near its headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., which serves as a test lab for retail innovation, the company told the news outlet.

At the 5260 event, Walmart is expected to urge some of the biggest advertisers to transfer their ad spending to Walmart from rivals Google LLC, Facebook Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., which collectively control about 65.5% of online ad spending in the U.S., the report said.

In April, the company said it planned to acquire the technology and assets of California-based advertising startup Polymorph Labs Inc. to complement its advertising unit, Walmart Media Group.

Stefanie Jay, vice president and general manager of Walmart Media Group, told Reuters that the retailer's ad unit combines online purchase behavior and intent with data on what shoppers are buying in stores before and after they see an ad.

"Advertisers are always looking for that complete picture to better understand where they should spend their ad dollars," Jay reportedly said.