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hugh_walmart.jpgLook, every company makes mistakes. I’ve made my share. Any PR pro will tell you that in the age of blogs, you acknowledge quickly, apologize, and vow never repeat the same mistake, and then exceed expectations. All Edelman PR cops to being sorry for is being caught – again.
Edelman PR’s mea culpas for creating a blatantly fake Wal-Mart blog ring hollow because Richard Edelman apologizes for getting caught, not for the agency generating yet another unethical Wal-Mart social media campaign.
Maverick-free zone
It’s surely not Steve Rubel’s fault. He’s just a PR guy with a job. Rubel, March 8, 2006 said he had no knowledge of the situation because he’d only been with the company a few weeks. And he promised:

“At times this means I may even be critical of my employer, the industry and competitors”

I’m sure Rubel has learned by now that’s not how it is when you work for a huge company.
The guy who really looks bad is Richard Edelman, because, unlike Rubel, he’s supposed to be running the show.

Richard Edelman March 7, 2006

“PR firms must be very conscious to abide by some very clear ethical standards, so that we do not compromise bloggers”

Richard Edelman, Oct 16, 2006

“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. …Our commitment is to openness and engagement because trust is not negotiable and we are working to be sure that commitment is delivered in all our programs.”

To quote Edelman’s Mission Statement:

“Maintaining high standards of conduct is not achieved solely by good intentions.”