December 07, 2006

Behind the Scenes of Wal-Mart's PR Charm Offensive

Walmart Wall Street Journal has a must-read piece about Wal-Mart's and Edelman's efforts to remake the company's image.  Some highlights:

  • "For the last 15 months, [Edelman] has been directing a campaign it calls "Candidate Wal-Mart."
  • "This is not a public-relations campaign," says Edelman's Michael Deaver. "It's a win-or-lose campaign. And if you've been involved in a presidential campaign, that's the way you look at things."
  • In 2005, Wal-Mart "heard pitches from three PR firms chosen as finalists -- Edelman, APCO Worldwide and DCI Group. Messrs. Dach and Deaver of Edelman described a campaign with all the trappings of a U.S. presidential bid. A war room of publicists would respond quickly to attacks or adverse news. Operatives would be assigned to drum up popular support for Wal-Mart via Internet blogs and grass-roots initiatives. Skeptical outside groups, such as environmentalists, would be recruited to team up with Wal-Mart."
  • "This summer, Wal-Mart decided to bring Mr. Dach in-house. Mr. Dach was already so intimately involved in planning that he sometimes heard of key developments within Wal-Mart prior to the company's own senior PR staffers..."

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