Rowe narrates Walmart's new "I Am a Factory" ad, which premiered during the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony. Over the weekend, he posted a nearly 2,700-word screed on his personal Facebook page in response to skepticism about the ad.
"It's a hell of a thing when someone you really don't like suddenly does something that you actually agree with," Rowe wrote. "At base, I think that's what's happening here. A lot of people who have fallen in love with hating Walmart are now wrestling with what the shrinks call 'cognitive dissonance.' Regarding a 250 billion dollar investment in American manufacturing, the choices are simple - a) continue to condemn them for whatever you like to condemn them for, b) offer support and encouragement, or, c) shoot the messenger."
Added Rowe: "I'm not a spokesman for Walmart. I narrated a very specific commercial because I'm a fan of what Walmart is trying to accomplish with this particular initiative. In the interest of full disclosure though, I really do shop there. In fact, for nearly ten years, Walmart was my first stop whenever Dirty Jobs came to town."
As of Thursday morning, his post had generated nearly 9,000 comments.
Rowe addressed some responders directly. "Honestly Kevin, who gives a crap about your feelings toward Walmart?" he wrote to one.
Rowe argued that Walmart's initiative to buy $250 billion worth of American goods will provide a boost to the economy and job market. "Dozens of American factories are going to reopen all over the country," he wrote. "Millions of dollars will pour straight into local economies, and hundreds of thousands of new manufacturing positions will need to be filled. ... Isn't this an initiative we can all get behind?"
A Walmart spokesperson told Ad Age that Rowe's Facebook comments are his own.
Read the full post here and watch the Rowe-narrated ad below: