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Edelman is an independently owned public relations company founded in 1952 by Daniel J. Edelman and today led by President & CEO Richard Edelman.

History

Daniel J. Edelman founded the firm in Chicago and remains Chairman of the Board. His son Richard Edelman is currently the President and CEO. Edelman expanded in the U.S. throughout the 1960s, and opened its first international office in London in 1968. Continued expansion throughout the next three decades saw Edelman move into Canada in 1972, Asia in 1984, Australia in 1987, and Latin America in 1994. Today, the company employs approximately 3300 people worldwide in 54 offices worldwide. In 2008, Edelman generated revenues of $440 million internationally.

Controversy

Edelman has sometimes been criticized by activist groups for failing to provide disclosure or mismanaging promotions for clients including Microsoft and Wal-Martmarker.

Microsoft

In April 1998 the Los Angeles Times revealed that Edelman had drafted a campaign plan to ensure that a dozen state attorneys-general did not join anti-trust legal actions against Microsoft. Documents obtained by the LA Times revealed that the plan included generating supportive letters to the editor, opinion pieces and articles by freelance writers. USA Today responded to the astroturfing saying, "the elaborate plan hinges on a number of unusual ­ and some say unethical ­ tactics, including the planting of articles, letters to the editor and opinion pieces to be commissioned by Microsoft's top media handlers but presented by local firms as spontaneous testimonials."

Wal-Mart

The New York Times reported in March, 2006 that Edelman had sent information to bloggers, some of which was copied word for word on blogs, to try to help Wal-Martmarker in a public relations campaign. Edelman responded by saying that they were working with bloggers and Wal-Mart in a "transparent" manner.

Edelman is also infamous for having invented the "flog", or fake blog. Edelman execs created a fake blog called "Walmarting Across America". The blog was written by a former Washington Post employee who was allegedly paid by Edelman to write the blog.

Eon

Edelman has also been targeted by those who accuse the company of greenwashing. On July 16, 2008, a group of protesters mounted a protest against Edelman's UK headquarters by climbing their glass roof and unfurling a banner. The activists were protesting Edelman's work with Eon, an energy company seeking to build a coal power station at Kingsnorth. The group charged that Edelman presents Eon as an environmentally aware company, despite coal power being one of the most carbon intensive form of energy production.On 1 September 2009, to coincide with the week long "Climate Camp" range of protests, a group of naked protestors occupied Edelman's reception, resulting in a considerable amount of news activity.

References

  1. Corporate History Edelman Corporate History
  2. [1] About Richard Edelman
  3. Wal-Mart Enlists Bloggers in P.R. Campaign, By Michael Barbaro, New York Times, March 6, 2006
  4. A Word to the Wise, Edelman blog, March 6, 2006
  5. Activists target Edelman in climate change protest, By PRWeek Reporters, PR Week, July 17, 2008
  6. Edelman discovers the naked truth Communicate magazine, September 2009


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