Teaching PR On-Line for Northwestern State University

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Wal-Mart Hires Bloggers for PR Campaign

This is from PR Watch, a group that monitors PR practice.
It shows how Wal-Mart is actually paying people to post seemingly friendly posts for them, even though in fact Wal-Mart has these people on the payroll. If this is true, it seems as though this could fall under the heading of unethical front groups.


Wal-Mart "began working with bloggers in late 2005 'as part of our overall effort to tell our story,' said Mona Williams, a company spokeswoman." Heading the blogger outreach is Marshall Manson, of the PR firm Edelman. Manson contacted bloggers who "wrote postings that either endorsed the retailer or challenged its critics." He emailed one, "I'd like to drop you the occasional update ... and an occasional nugget that you won't hear about in the M.S.M.," or mainstream media. But "some bloggers have posted information from Wal-Mart, at times word for word, without revealing where it came from," reports the New York Times. Manson warned bloggers they might be "ripped" if someone noticed "nearly identical posts" copied from his emails. Wal-Mart's also opposing state bills that require large companies to spend a minimum percentage of payroll costs on health insurance. Wal-Mart claims, "These bills ... do nothing to take people off America's uninsured list," reports PR Week.


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