First, let me say that I am a big fan of Steve Rubel, Phil Gomes, and many other Edelman folk. But, for a PR team that claims such impressive stars in its line-up, it’s been striking out big-time with the Wal-Mart account.
The inimitable John Wagner points us to this incredibly lame experiment by Edelman’s Wal-Mart team: they set-up a fake blog, "Wal-Marting Across America" featuring a professional writer and WaPo photog (incognito), RV’ing throughout America’s Wal-Mart parking lots. The fact that this was a PR stunt, with paid bloggers on-board, was not disclosed. According to MediaPost:
"The blog, launched Sept. 27, was profiled in this week’s issue of BusinessWeek, which exposed the site as a promotional tactic engineered by Working Families for Wal-Mart (WFWM), an organization launched by Wal-Mart’s public relations firm Edelman. WFWM paid for the RV and all travel expenses, rerouted the trip’s original plan, and plastered a logo on the RV’s side. Although the blog featured a link to WFWM, it did not identify the organization as a paid sponsor."
This is wrong on so many levels. And it is Stike 3 for Edelman (not Strike 2, as Joseph Jaffe suggests). Edelman, the self-described leader in me2, in transparency, in Social Media PR strategies. (Or, maybe not.)
Strike 2 was Edelman VP Mike Krempasky’s (debatable) handling of the Consumerist flap.
Note to the good guys at Edelman: it is not just your agency but your own credibility that is on the line when a.) your agency TALKS about transparency but does not PRACTICE it, and, b.) you don’t blog about these fiascos (pro or con).
Silence is not golden. Silence gives consent.
Posted on: October 12, 2006 at 10:57 pm By Todd Defren