In case you missed it, the Internet blew up today with the news that Walmart had created a page titled “Fat Girl Costumes” on their website. Thousands of people were offended, major news outlets reported the scandal and articles are being written about it ad nauseam even as I type.
Why did Walmart create a Fat Girl Costumes page
Walmart is not out to offend anyone. When the Walmart web team creates a page, it’s not for editorial value. They aren’t trying to make a point or start a conversation. They are trying to connect with people and sell them stuff. This is what Walmart does, sells stuff.
So why Fat Girl Costumes? Because there is search traffic. Just look at this graphic from Google Trends
Fat Girl Costumes is trending upward every October over the last 3 years. Walmart isn’t labeling women as fat girls, they are simply trying to get one more search term, connect with one more small segment of society, those that label themselves as “fat girls” and want to dress up for Halloween.
Is this really an SEO win?
The Walmart web team got had the BEST possible situation happen today. Their “Fat Girl Costumes” page literally went viral. Millions of people are talking about it. It’s going to be in the news cycle for the next 3 or for days and thousands of articles are being written about it right now creating links to Walmart’s plus size Halloween costume page. In fact, if I search Google right now for “Fat Girl Costumes” over 100 listings appear in the SERPs that show Walmart’s name.
In fact, if you search for Fat Girl Costumes in Google a shopping page appears.
This is EXACTLY what Walmart did and is being crucified for, why is no one complaining about Google calling people fat?
Anyone in search engine marketing wants to have something they created generate this kind of buzz. I’m sure while the Walmart PR team is apologizing, the Walmart web team is cracking open the champagne.
Update: Five months after writing this post a search for Fat Girl Costumes comes up with a list of articles about Walmart. So, if you are an empowered confident large woman, you still can’t find costumes that fit, only articles mentioning how evil Walmart is for providing you with products. Sigh…