People will camp in line for days, trample each other, pull guns, and pay thousands of dollars for the privilege of being one of the first to score a new, soul-sucking PlayStation 3.
If you are a senator, though, you just try to pull some strings. And if you're a corporate giant who hates said game console-wanting senator, you turn the whole thing into a political kneecapping.
John Edwards, the former North Carolina senator best known for his failure to hit puberty, is also famous for talking up a classless society while hating on Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is most famous for, recently, being the place to find a PlayStation 3 (and a NASCAR-branded American flag keychain). The two came together in comically role-reversed fashion when an Edwards staffer contacted a local Wal-Mart for help in securing a PS3 just for the senator - a very important man.
Holy gift-wrapped rhetorical opportunity for a besieged anti-union retailer, Batman! Did the staffer ever fathom in his wildest dreams that this apparent hypocrisy would escape the notice of the shadowy Wal-Mart secret police? The company employs dozens of sharp-fanged political operatives for just this purpose.
Within hours, Wal-Mart had issued a wry press release (sample quote: "We are certain Sen. Edwards will be able to find great gifts for everyone on his Christmas list - many at Wal-Mart's ‘roll-back prices'"), Edwards was apologizing and blaming the staffer, and the news was nationwide.
Wal-Mart is watching, you puny ex-senator. The velvet glove of low prices wraps an iron fist.
PR Play Rating:
3. On the right track