A Bentonville blunder
"The number of days it took Wal-Mart to botch its new proactive public relations strategy."
"What is ."
"I'll take "Self-inflicted Public Relations Nightmares" for $800, Alex."
You don't have to be a Ken Jennings know-it-all to recognize a bad idea.
After waking from decades of PR hibernation, it took Wal-Mart less than five weeks to stumble across a PR disaster. (At least one of its own making.)
A Wal-Mart PR manager has now resigned, after taking out a controversial ad in an Arizona newspaper. It was part of an informational campaign to answer opponents a Flagstaff Wal-Mart expansion.
The ad attempted to draw a parallel between book burnings and the prevention of free commerce. The accompanying text read:
"Should we let government tell us what we can read? Of course not . . . So why should we allow local government to limit where we shop?"That's a fairly complicated message to attempt given the short-attention span of our culture. The problem is that no one realized the picture was from a Nazi book-burning. No one, except the Arizona Anti-Defamation League.
Not only has the executive responsible resigned, but the firm that produced the ad severed its retainer with Wal-Mart.
Here is a link to a .pdf of the actual ad.
This is especially foul because Wal-Mart turned a corner in both proactive and reactive PR messaging, holding a press junket on April 5th of this year. It didn't take long for the rookie mistake to emerge.
(By the way... Wal-Mart spent nearly $300,000 on that Flagstaff campaign, just to add a grocery section to one of its stores. Apparently, they spent just enough. The ordinance limiting Wal-Mart's expansion was overturned by two percentage points.)