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According to BrandRepublic (and a bunch of others) Edelman PR issued a public apology for not disclosing that a blog called www.walmartingacrossamerica.com, about two people in an RV sleeping in Wal-Mart parking lots, was in fact, underwritten by Working Families for Wal-Mart, a group back by (shock) Wal-Mart, designed to portray a positive image of the superstore.
There aren’t keys big enough on my keyboard to ask Edelman – WTF?
This is EDELMAN! This is “The last great independent PR shop.” This is the home of STEVE FREAKING RUBEL! He’s quoted as the expert on every article on blogs in the free world, because he’s been that good at mixing the Kool-Aid.
You’re going to tell me Steve couldn’t have just walked into Richard’s office and been like, “Richard, this isn’t cool – We’re creating some bad Ju-ju, and we’re gonna get busted.” Would Richard have listened? Maybe. But Steve commented “”I am sorry I could not speak about this sooner. I had no personal role in this project. There is a process in place that I had to let proceed through its course. This is why it took some time.”
You’re EDELMAN’S BLOG EXPERT. YOU HAD NO ROLE IN THIS PROJECT? IT. WAS. A. BLOG!
And Columbus sat below, writing out star charts for his next trip to Asia. He had no personal role in actually FINDING America.
And besides, what the hell does “This is why it took some time” MEAN?! Watergate took some time, too, but no one blamed the White House’s lying and failing to be transparent on “letting it run its course.”
Come on guys – What were you smoking that day? How could you possibly let this happen? I’d said it hundreds of times, and it’s a cornerstone of my book (shameless plug, coming out next month, publishes by Wiley!) that basically says – “IF YOU LIE, YOU WILL GET NAILED.” This isn’t rocket science, people. DON’T LIE. DON’T OMIT. This is the INTERNET. It will come back to bite you on the ass. And it will HURT.
It’s not so much what they did. They’re Wal-Mart. They’ll recover. This has no bearing on whether I can buy a pair of Wrangler jeans for $11.00, then walk three feet to my left and buy a shotgun.
What it DOES do, though, is make people stop and question whether they’re going to be willing to take a chance next time on a PR stunt, on a Blog campaign, on some way of thinking differently, or taking a new chance. “Oh, we don’t want to do that, remember what happened with Edelman and Wal-Mart? So people go back to thinking normally, and killing that which is creativity. All of a sudden, we’re sending out 500 press releases in a blast without personalization again, because, “that’s the way it’s worked before.”
And that really pisses me off.
Great, Edelman. Way to go. Thanks. I’m reminded of the line from Beverly Hills Cop II, when Axl Foley discovers Max, the cop killer, at the Playboy party. Calling him out in public, he says, “OK, that’s it everyone. Party’s over. Max fucked it up for everybody so let’s just go home.”
Thanks, Edelman. Did you fuck it up for everybody? Only time will tell. But here’s a guarantee: You didn’t help. Oh, and Steve? Neither did you, by “not saying anything sooner.”