In the aftermath of the Working Families for Wal-Mart debacle, there has been a lot of talk about WOMMA’s code of ethics for online communications. Now PR Week writes (subscr. req.) that “Dell is becoming the largest company ever to formally adopt the Word of Mouth Marketing Association’s (WOMMA’s) code of ethics for online and blog communications”.
And while we are on the Wal-Mart topic, the bad luck for Edelman doesn’t seem to come to an end. Via For Immediate Release podcast #190 I hear that when Edelman set up the organisation Working Families for Wal-Mart they didn’t register the domain with the same name. The organisation’s website can be found at www.forwalmart.com. The most logical domain, www.workingfamiliesforwalmart.com, was instead kidnapped by an anti-Wal-Mart organisation that launched a pretty good parody site. Particulary worth noting is how all the smiling faces in the original are replaced by sad ones in the parody.
PR agency Edelman has been under intense fire the last few days for being involved in a pro-Wal-Mart blog, but not being open about who the sponsor is. MediaPost writes about the blog called “Wal-Marting Across America”:
“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. WFWM paid for the RV [Recreational Vehicle ]and all travel expenses, rerouted the trip’s original plan, and plastered a logo on the RV’s side. Though a banner ad announced WFWM sponsored the site, it did not divulge Wal-Mart paid for the couple’s RV, gas, food and other expenses.”
It took a few days until Richard Edelman responded with an apology.
“I want to acknowledge our error in failing to be transparent about the identity of the two bloggers from the outset. This is 100% our responsibility and our error; not the client’s.”
Constantin Basturea has a good set of comments from the PR blogosphere. See also Kevin O’Keefe.
[Cartoon: courtesy of Gaping Void.]