Friday, October 20, 2006

Public relations and blogging

In yesterday's AdAge there's an article titled "Edelman Eats Humble Pie." Read it. (I won't link to it because you have to register on to be able to read it, and the link is only active for a week.)

Edelman is the largest public relations firm in the world. Wal-Mart is one of their clients. On behalf of their clients, Edelman set up a blog called "Walmarting Across America" and hired professionals to write it, but presented it as a "real" blog. They've been unmasked, and the blogosphere is in an uproar about it.

Here's a link to the press release, ostensibly issued by "Working Families For Walmart," announcing that "Jim and Laura" would be driving their RV across America, stopping at Wal-Marts along the way, and blogging their experiences.

Jim and Laura have been revealed to be freelance writer Laura St. Claire and Washington Post photographer Jim Thresher, hired by Edelman.

Pete Blackshaw, of Nielsen BuzzMetrics, is quoted in the AdAge article as saying, "Everyone wanted to co-opt the conversation. [The industry] wanted to make it a marketing vehicle and not a listening vehicle. I hope the marketers internalize what this means for best practices."

Read the article in AdAge. Look at the Edelman Web site. (The head of Edelman, Richard Edelman, writes a blog on it, and used his blog to post an apology for the scandal.) Read the press release and, if it's still up, look at the Wal-Mart blog. Then form an opinion of this issue and blog about it.

1 comment:

Kelley Lugea said...

This doesn't surprise me, I refer to Wal-Mart as "The Devil's Den."