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How Guerrilla Marketers Made People Into Their Platform

April 30 (Bloomberg) -- Back in 2006, a year still young in the Web 2.0 era, Laura and Jim set off cross-country in their new RV and chronicled the journey on a blog. They pitched camp in Wal-Mart lots across the heartland and posted photos and vignettes from the road, including chipper portraits of the employees they encountered along the way.

What went largely unsaid was that a public-relations firm representing Wal-Mart Stores Inc. had sponsored the entire trip. They were “Wal-Marting Across America,” as the blog was called, on the retailer’s dime.