Friday, January 06, 2006

Wal-Mart Goof: Randomly Offensive

The power of blogging continues apace. According to a story in the Washington Post, Wal-Mart--in attempt to offer Amazon-style "if you liked this then you'll love this" cross-marketing--had better start screening it's computer programmers a little more closely, 'cuz the bloggers are gonna getcha:

Wal-Mart apologized yesterday after its retail Web site directed potential buyers of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "Planet of the Apes" DVDs to also consider purchasing DVDs with African American themes.

The world's largest retailer said in a statement that it was "heartsick" over the racially offensive grouping and that the site was linking "seemingly random combinations of titles."

"It's just simply not working correctly," said Mona Williams, vice president of corporate communications for Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
The company said it was alerted to the problem early yesterday afternoon after word began spreading among bloggers. When visitors to requested "Planet of the Apes: The Complete TV Series" on DVD, four other movies were recommended under the heading "Similar Items." Those films included "Martin Luther King: I Have A Dream/Assassination of MLK" and "Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson."
Um, you think that might offend people just a little? Not surprisingly, Wal-Mart, which just can't seem to get that whole community- and public-relations thing right, has discontinued its cross-selling function and will investigate how it happened.

Heck, I might even start feeling sorry for the company--at least the PR staff--once I quell my righteous indignation and stop laughing.


Blogger Rebecca said...

OMG that's awful....

6:51 AM  

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