CNN did a nice job on its "101 Dumbest Business Moments"
Wal-Mart places 6 times in the top 101. Yikes.
In an attempt to put a smiley face on its tarnished image, Wal-Mart hires heavy-hitting public relations firm Edelman, which sets about using tactics derived from political races to reverse public perceptions of the giant retailer.
Dubbing its campaign "Candidate Wal-Mart," the firm trumpets all manner of new Wal-Mart initiatives: improved employee health-care benefits, higher starting pay levels, new stores in downtrodden neighborhoods, reasonably priced organic foods, and a flat $4 fee for hundreds of generic prescription drugs.
As a result, candidate Wal-Mart quickly becomes, well, the most popular politician since Spiro Agnew. By year's end Wal-Mart suffers its first quarterly profit drop in a decade, sees same-store sales decline in November's run-up to the crucial holiday shopping season, and suffers a series of public relations gaffes so stunning that it lands six spots in this year's edition of the 101 Dumbest Moments.
My own favorite? #6:
Bringing the ever-friendly spirit of its in-store greeters online, Walmart.com offers DVD shoppers helpful recommendations for films they might be interested in purchasing.
Customers looking at the Web site's product pages for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Planet of the Apes, for instance, are steered toward "similar items" such as Martin Luther King: I Have a Dream/Assassination of MLK and Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson. Wal-Mart spokeswoman Mona Williams says the company is "heartsick" over the incident but has "absolutely no evidence" that the connections were made intentionally.
Oh, and by the way, for you losers who spend money on stockbrokers...
(A grateful nod to TtWBWB)