In the WTF department — Rob O’Regan floored me with the news that a couple blogging about their excellent RV adventure and parking at Wal-Mart parking lots was being bankrolled by Edelman.
Who in this day and age of instant gotcha would think of hiding their interests, conflicted or not? Shame on all involved. Time for deceptive marketing stunts, particularly ones undertaken in a medium ostensibly devoted to building open conversations, to die and die some more. See my earlier posts on deceptive viral — it’s time has come and gone too.
“Earlier this week, the “Wal-Marting Across America” blog – ostensibly the musings of a happy couple traveling the country in an RV while overnighting only in Wal-Mart parking lots – was outed for being bankrolled by Wal-Mart’s outside PR firm, Edelman. This is not the first time Wal-Mart has been caught pushing the ethical boundaries of the blogosphere. Granted, the retail giant desperately needs some ammo for its ongoing steel-cage death match against its well-organized critics, but come on – what was it possibly thinking? I continue to be amazed when big brands and their big agencies swing and miss so badly. Wal-Mart got its buzz alright, but once again for all the wrong reasons.”