Wednesday, 29 November 2006

Have I Been Under a Rock? Walmart's Fake Blog

During the panel discussion today, the whole Walmart/Edelman fiasco had been brought up and discussed. I thought it would be rude to interuppt since everyone seemed to know what it was to say, doh - huh? could they make such an obvious and stupid mistake? I totally disagree with Mitch Joel in our panel today, he said something about even bad PR is better than no PR. That's kinda like saying "it's just business". I don't buy it anymore.

Enjoy the posting below, cuz it pretty much sums it up for me.....

Walmart Gets Caught With Its Pants Down


Mitch Joel said...

Errr... I did not say that. What I said was that the general public probably didn't even know about the Flog in the first place and, let's say they did, they certainly were not informed that it was fake and that the only people who "really" care are people in the industry (like us). Which is sad.

I did say that they "won by loosing." Because people still see Edelman as leaders in the social media space (which they are) and we seem to have just as quickly forgiven them as we bashed them. Wal-Mart takes so much junk that this little "indiscretion" isn't even a pimple on the butt of their smallest issue.

This whole kerfuffle does prove that the only bad press is an obituary. And, as we all see, nobody died.

Leigh Himel said...

i think we are arguing semantics (my favorite kinda of argument as it turns out)

....I think people do care and I think that if this one hasn't turned too ugly on them then its just dumb luck. I recall Sony have a similar issue that seemed to have gotten swept under the carpet until all hell broke loose...

Maybe with this one it is just a matter of time?

Mitch Joel said...

Never let it be said that I am anti-semantic.

I think people do care. I just don't think they care about a Wal-Mart blog like the one about RVs.


Mark said...

I think the lessons from this has been more or less lost in the debate about truth, authenticity, and transparency.

The goodwill and hip connection generated by an apparently viral experience is negated when the proverbial man behind the curtain is revealed. Will this affect the average Walmart shopper? Probably not, since that average Walmart shopper won't be paying attention to the controversy (although they might have cottoned on to the RV story, in this case; it's like seeing the headline without seeing the retraction on the next news cycle). So for Walmart and Edelman, the campaign is effective, but only as far as it goes (ie. until it's revealed). We saw this with Snakes on a Plane, lonelygirl15, and other similar events.

But what happens when this is pushed beyond its potential (i.e. all publicity is good publicity, and Edelman as the social media PR company)? The original effects go into reversal: in this case, it means that Edelman acquires a certain aura of toxicity over time, acquiring the reputation that they are the PR company of choice for those who want to deceive. In the UCaPP age in which one of the predominant effects is emergent transparency, this is tantamount to the kiss of death.

Walmart will be unaffected. And Edelman will still score points among the a.p.i.g.p. aficionados (and you can't have apigp without a big fat pig in the middle). Over the long term, doing evil doesn't pay - just ask the RIAA, Sony, Yahoo!, and others.

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