Say what you will about how evil Walmart is, but its response to this negative mention in the press is a genius move.
After New York Times columnist Timothy Egan criticized Walmart for its mistreatment of employees and the burden it places on the US economy, Walmart’s PR team responded by reposting the article on the company blog, and annotating it with a red pen.
Pretending to be Egan’s editor at the Times, Walmart’s VP of communications David Tovar scribbled responses, questioned figures, rebutted arguments and pointed out inaccuracies in the piece, all in a playfully snarky tone.
Here’s what it looked like (click image to view the entire post)
Whether you agree with the article or not, this is a highly effective response from Walmart. It’s playful, but it does the job of firmly refuting the argument. Instead of responding with a blog post of it’s own, Walmart gets creative, mildly belittling the writer by pretending to be his editor, while offering a clear, point by point response to all the negative claims in the article.
By hosting its response on an owned channel (the company blog) Walmart now has an effective piece of content it can share, and by making it something different other than the usual blanket denial or PR statement, you can bet it’ll be shared plenty. A great example of combining PR and content marketing efforts.