Edelman and Wal-Mart and fake blogs? Oh my…

  • el
  • pt
  • [Disclosure: Saturday night at a fund raiser for Rae Vogeler, our Green Party candidate for Senate, I picked up two “I Hate Wal-Mart” pins. I put one on my jacket, and brought the other one home to Beth.]

    But really… Edelman is supposed to be coached in this web-world stuff by the best. How could they make a bonehead move like this for such an important client? I’m guessing, a) they didn’t ask David Weinberger; or b) they didn’t listen to what he told them.

    WHAT DO YOU CALL A phony blog that’s actually a front for a huge corporation? A “flog”?

    A pro-Wal-Mart blog called “Wal-Marting Across America,” ostensibly launched by a pair of average Americans chronicling their cross-country travels in an RV and lodging in Wal-Mart parking lots, has been reduced to a farewell entry. One of its two contributors was revealed to be Jim Thresher, a staff photographer for The Washington Post.

    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.

    Posted in Truth and Falsehood, Web Publishing
    4 comments on “Edelman and Wal-Mart and fake blogs? Oh my…
    1. The proper term might be Phlog. Readers would be getting phlogged. Was that phlog (gee, I never clicked over there) filled with phalsehoods?

      Which would lead, of course, to the follow-up phrase, Phuck Wal*Mart!

    2. bmo says:

      I’ll bite, Frank. I dont see much difference between amanda congdon across america and wal-marting across america. I mean there is more transparency in the ‘walmarting’ flog even.
      Takes about three minutes of reading the thing to figure out it’s more thrills for shills. A flog is a flog, some flogs is just prettier I guess.

      The entire notion that corporations can be humanized, suddenly given a human voice, must end. Now. All this making nice through blogs or otherwise is just creepy and is absolutely no different than traditional advertising. Primary objective: let’s establish emotional contact. No, actually, the conversation is creepier. Let’s get back to branding. I feel less dirty.

      Knocking Edelman for putting laquer on the plywood is like knocking the white house press secretary for obfuscation.

      Ford makes hybrid vehicles, aren’t they a good bunch of folks. Opportunists looking to cash in with the envirogeek set, using the fineboned ms congdon as the bonesetter. And there’s walmart looking to cash in with the winnebago crowd, all ugly ball caps and hallmark logic.

      Less damage in the hybrid, though. Ah, yes, the Environment. Sacrosanct. Like Israel or the Dalai Lama. I’m sure the mayor of Madison rides his bike to work everyday in that cheap suit of his with a clear conscience now that he has signed on to Kyoto. And we should all feel good about the dairy expo, even though it’s probably just a front for Big Milk. Feel feel feel. But it’s organic milk. Still effluent out the back side of a cow. Oh my aching ozone.

      It’s the same basket of eels, Frank. Poached or deep fried, your choice. Clean up, aisle seven.

    3. The only post left at the WalMart flog is a self righteous “we’re just folks” one. I’ll admit I piled on to the criticism after the fact since who in their right mind would be visiting the WalMart web site anyway? Further, my post was hasty, not particularly well conceived, nor did it gather the threads that your comment brings to the discussion, bmo. That said, let me dive deeper into this cess pit and see what morsels I can find.

      Richard Edelman is a blogger and he hired Steve Rubel, another blogger, to lead the way into the uncharted waters of web 2.0 agency work. David Weinberger has long been an advisor to Edelman’s company as well. The complaints echoed by my lemming like mewling were complaints about lack of transparency. These hosers set up and sponsored a “road trip” blog that didn’t acknowledge the sponsorship. So it was a professional effort masking as amateur. The shills doing the blogging were there to suck people into the wonderful world of walmart and that’s pretty much the same as a free taste of crack on the playground in my opinion. I don’t like military recruiters in the schools, dope pushers on the playground, or retail scams in the blogosphere.

      Amanda is different. Not only is she transparent regarding the Ford sponsorship, but also she broadens the range of the earth friendly discussion out into alternative fuels, river clean-up, progressive politicians and a bunch of more or less boring goofy shit like the time wasted at the St. Louis Museum of Goofy Shit.

      Amanda’s corporate and agency relationships may not all be perfectly transparent, but the thrust of her blog is moderate progressive action, with sponsors acknowledged on a page given over to that. Ford sponsors public radio too. I see this as no more and no less egregious.

      So I disagree that the walmart flog was more transparent. In fact, the web marketing at walmart is enormously sophisticated and the stories they tell are often persuasive lies. See this link:

      Regarding Mayor Dave, Big Milk, the Dolly Llama, and Zionist oppression of native people in the middle east… well, yes. Those stories deserve expansion too.

    4. bmo says:

      Frank, dahling, Ford and Walmart are up to the same thing here: marketing to an assumed target, whether it’s appealing to progressive environmentalists or wayward RVers, both through a kind a maudlin sentimentality. The name Walmarting Across America is a pretty strong clue that what we have here is an effort by the good folks down at Walmart. The clunkiness probably highlights the fact that no matter who they hire, corporations simply cannot act or speak like human beings. With Ford and Amanda we have to dig a little deeper, to get a look at the unederwriting. And just who the hell are Environemetal Countdown? Not exactly making it easy to find out what their agenda is. I’ve had little luck. This transparency thing should just go away. It’s a nuisance.



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