Wal-Mart purchased another gilt bullhorn, this time, in the form of a former aide to Martin Luther King Jr.
From USA TODAY:
- “Andrew Young, one of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s top aides, a former United Nations ambassador and former mayor of Atlanta, announced last month that he would head a group formed to spread the word about the positive contributions of Wal-Mart Stores.”
“I got involved with Wal-Mart because I think Wal-Mart is making middle-class lifestyles available to poor people. … I agreed to chair the (national steering) committee of Working Families for Wal-Mart because there was another side of the story that wasn’t being told,” he says.
His company, GoodWorks International, is being paid an undisclosed amount to help promote Wal-Mart through interviews, speeches and editorials. One of Young’s goals, he says, is to get the retailer into Africa.”
Can we say “commodifying credibility?”
Is this another bright idea from the Edelman PR firm? These guys would hire Jesus to preach how God “bathes humanity in the magnanimous glow of His blue-light special.”
This is the same tactic as putting a hot chick next to a toaster in an ad, hoping to give the toaster sex appeal. There’s a flip-side to that transference equation: the girl comes out looking like, by dint of association, an appliance.
Until they implement the systemic changes to its policies and practices necessary to be a “good company,” Wal-Mart’s street cred is not going to be improved by shopping for spokespersons, whether they’re bloggers or former civil rights activists. Rather, Wal-Mart will continue to look like a gaping sore and its avatars will emerge besmirched. At least Andrew Young and his fellow shills will have a room full of money with which to dip his wounded conscience in.