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Logging On With A New Campaign; Staffers Use Tactics Learned With Candidates to Pressure Wal-Mart
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Subjects: Campaigns; Petitions; Unionization; Online advertising
Author: Joyce, Amy
Date: May 31, 2005
Start Page: E.01

Wake-Up Wal-Mart's first major action was to garner opposition to Wal-Mart for Mother's Day. The group launched a campaign called "Love Mom, Not Wal-Mart." Shoppers signed a petition promising not to buy a Mother's Day gift at the store. News of the petition went out on blogs and community activist sites. About 22,000 people signed the online promise in the week and a half before Mother's Day. [Chris Kofinis] said he considered the signatures a success, not because they had an impact on Wal-Mart sales, but because he thinks they helped raise awareness of the group's criticisms of Wal-Mart.

Visitors to the organization's Web site can also enter their Zip codes to find nearby Wal-Marts and then promise, online, to take responsibility for focusing attention on that particular store. Many people signed up to do this during the Mother's Day campaign, gathering signatures for petitions criticizing Wal-Mart or standing near stores to tell people about Wal-Mart practices they dislike. "We're focusing on people who might go to Wal-Mart and don't know the facts and might change their behavior," Kofinis said.

Wal-Mart has no plans to deal with Wake-Up Wal-Mart. "We do not plan to talk with them," said Wal-Mart spokeswoman Mona Williams in an e-mail. "Some of our critics are open-minded people who are genuinely concerned about issues and want to make the world a better place. We reach out to them and try to work toward common goals. Other groups simply pull publicity stunts to further their own narrow self-interests -- and Wake-Up Wal-Mart is clearly in that category."

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