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Ellie Bonn

15 October 2019
PRS 340
Writing Assignment 1

After reading the article Fake Blogs: New Marketing Channel or Really Bad Idea, I have

formed an opinion regarding the leading global communications marketing firm, Edelman

Worldwide and their client Wal-Mart. To provide myself with some background information, I

researched what Edelman Worldwide was. I found that they partner with many of the world’s

largest and emerging businesses and organizations. Essentially, they help these big companies

grow and promote their brands and strengthen their reputations. I now know why they would

have Wal-Mart as a client, because Wal-Mart is a huge retail corporation with many stores in

different locations around the world. So, to review the issue, Wal-Mart was concerned with their

image and reputation and hired Edelman Worldwide to help them. Edelman then had the idea to

send a couple on a trip around the country, stopping at multiple Wal-Marts and interviewing

satisfied customers and employees and writing a daily blog on their findings. This all sounded

good until the media found out what they were actually doing.

Many different news organizations heard what Edelman was doing and decided to take a

deeper look into the process. They found out that this popular communications marketing firm

was not disclosing all aspects of their idea to help Wal-Mart’s reputation. Rumors were spread

and the rumors were found to be true. The couple’s travel expenses were being paid by

Working Families for Wal-Mart which is an advocacy group formed by Edelman. In addition, the

“couple” were not really a couple, and they were not normal, every-day people. Jim was actually

named James and he was a photographer for the Washington Post, and Laura was a freelance

writer, both on Edelman payroll.

In my opinion, this is most definitely unethical because they set up a fake blog. I believe

the whole idea would have been fine by having these two Edelman employees go on a trip, if

they did not lie to the media. But, because they were sneaky and went behind peoples backs to
complete this, I believe it is unethical. The public was misled because of this fake blog which is

not cool. Some people believe that what they did was fine because “it was common for public

relations firms to set up fake grassroots people anyway.” This is upsetting because as a future

public relations professional, I will do everything in my power to only display truthful news. It is

so much more helpful to only report truthful news than it is to lie. President Trump has put

forward the idea of “fake news” which hurts journalists. They are now not considered the honest

reporters that they used to be. Their work is not as valued as it was in the past because of

people having the mindset that public relations professionals provide false information to the

public. Stories like this are interesting to me because it is helpful to see conflicts that arise and

how these big companies come to decide on a resolution. Once again, in my opinion, this story

is clearly unethical.