The Edelman/Wal-Mart fake blog story keeps rearing its ugly head. And it's not going to go away any time soon....
Hans Kullin at Media Culpa reports that the url workingfamiliesforwalmart was kidnapped by an anti-Wal-mart group which launched a pretty funny parody of the Wal-mart site. Why? Because, doh, Edelman PR failed to register the most logical URL for the site.
(Ring a bell? Not too long ago, Dell's PR firm forgot to check the URL it picked for the company's blog. Turned out that One2One was a porn site. So Dell had to change the name from DellOne2One to Direct To Dell. Hey, a name change is always good for a brand! The theme here is PR agency cluelessness about new media.)
Here's the bottom line: Wal-mart is engaged in all sorts of questionable and unethical activities, from running sweatshops to selling bullets. An agency that takes on a client like Wal-mart has to be willing to overlook its uglier practices. In my book, taking on a client with questionable ethics is unethical. PR has to be about more than whoring yourself to the highest bidder.
So call me a Pollyanna, and I'm sure people will call me worse, but I can't see why any agency would work for Wal-mart to begin with. Let alone help them be even more skeevy by lying to the public.
I'm not the only one thinking about the implications of this story. I was interviewed this morning by a reporter who's talking to a host of sources, both on and off the record, to explain the full story of Edelman's deception. It's coming out soon and it surely won't be the last story on the subject.
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