Quick Thoughts on Kryptonite ... I mean Walmart

Some PR news on the front page of TechMeme today.

In a quick conversation with Tom Biro, he had a good point: this is Edelman's Kryptonite. Just like many people did not know what was going on at Kryptonite Lock, we do not know what is going on internally at Edelman. Disclaimer, Kryptonite is a client of Weber Shandwick, but more importantly to me, I call Donna Tocci a friend.

I respect and like most of the Edelman bloggers, and give them the benefit of the doubt on this. I do not know what goes on internally at Edelman, I do not know the facts - not that this does not stop Steve from blogging on FedEx or Staples or Kryptonite - but the benefit of the doubt is what you give your friends (and we all know who I consider my friends).

One thought, though - it does not matter who works or does not work on an account. It's an agency, and saying "I had no personal role" is not acceptable. You fall on the grenade, and take one for the team. It is our job to push internally, and sometimes push back on the client. It is not like the blog was a big secret - someone should have known what was going on, and Jeremy Wagstaff at the WSJ says it best.

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5 comments

  1. Welcome back.

    The whole Edelman thing must be really hard for you to comment on. On the one hand...agency shows guts trying something clever. Client shows imagination going along with it. It goes wrong cuz of the "authenticity" thing that these smart Edelman bloggers like to make speaking appearance fees talking about. They take a very "old school" CYA approach to response. Oops.

    Leadership takes risk. They fucked this one up good. It's a long season.

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  2. happy b-day - saw old man pepper at Break fast


    Glad to see you blogging.


    what a brutal, shameless industy you find yourself in - catching up on ine

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  3. @Dee
    It definitely is a long season, and the response followed the book for traditional PR crisis commuications. From the say little to the half mea culpa, it reads like a point by point plan.

    It is hard for me to commnent on for two reasons. I count many of the people at Edelman as friends - it's not a secret who is not on that list - but this highlights the problem with the knee-jerk counsel of "let's start a blog!" It's like something out of Andy Hardy and "let's do a musical!" to save the day. Well, sometimes a musical does not save the day, nor is a blog the right answer. But, from the drumbeats of one certain person, people think that's the answer.

    Plus, well, we are all destined for these types of screw-ups. What separates the men from the little boys is who is willing to step-up and post something immediately (following their own mud slinging advice to, say, Dell) and who is going to hide behind Daddy's pant legs.

    Yes, there is preservation of job, but there is also preservation of reputation, and that is the balance.

    @Howard
    Thanks, and yep.

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  4. Thanks for pointing us to Jeremy Wagstaff's post. It was quite an interesting one.

    And, thank you for, once again, giving the benefit of the doubt to a company because you are smart enough to know that the outside world can not possibly know all that is going on internally at a company. Even if one or two at that company don't give the same courtesy to others.....maybe this will give them pause the next time, eh?

    A birthday??? Happy Birthday, my friend. May the coming year be filled with many wonderful adventures.

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  5. You getting soft in your old age, Pepper?

    Agree with your thoughts here.

    One clear result of missteps like this: all of us in the PR space will be under increasing scrutiny for the transparency of our communications efforts -- particularly online. Not such a bad thing, if you ask me.

    Swift self-policing like we've seen in recent days makes us all better communicators and helps define the boundaries and rules of the road.

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