Flip the dial on your TV tomorrow and Thursday and you’ll likely find one of Edelman’s placements for Butterball’s classic Turkey Talk-Line. Edelman cleverly helped Butterball launch the 800 number in 1981 with just 5 operators. The idea was not to sell turkeys but to assuage the nation’s “turkey trauma,” thus making the brand synonymous with the bird.

We talked to Allison McClamroch who heads up the 8-person account team from Edelman’s office in Chicago to find out more. The staff cooks up billions of impressions by working a full year in advance to come up with new angles and pitch long-lead magazines, according to McClamroch.

The Talk Line has grown to 55 Butterball University-trained experts who handle over 11,000 calls a season on everything from prep techniques, safety, recipes, and talking first-time Thanksgiving Day hosts off the ledge. Average tenure on the floor is 11 years.

Edelman turns up the gas on the PR program when the help line opens each year around November 1st by sending out heaping helpings of b-roll, followed by a satellite media tour (SMT) on “national thaw day” one week prior to Thanksgiving (thawing is the #1 problem for new cooks and should begin a week in advance). The SMT yielded 54 TV affiliates this year.

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From their website:

Edelman, the world’s largest independent public relations firm, announced today that Tony Blankley, former press secretary and advisor to Speaker Newt Gingrich and editor of The Washington Times editorial page, will join the firm’s Washington office as executive vice president for global public affairs.

FishBowlDC has the full scoop. Blankley is also affiliated with the conservative Heritage Foundation. Will Newt run for President with the help of Blankley/Edelman? Ok, we’re just speculating here. What do you think?

(image via: magical urbanism)

In honor of their last issue this October, we give you Business 2.0‘s coverage of recent Wal-Mart pr and marketing mis-haps that made their “101 Dumbest Moments in Business” list. From hiring Edelman, to luring an Edelman exec inside, to Julie Roehm, (they’re still with Edelman) it’s certainly worth a look. And not to mention the company’s recent Facebook debacle, which took place after Business 2.0’s report. Forrester’s Jeremiah Owyang breaks that down here.

Profits were down about $150mm this quarter.

Ok, let’s not be all negative. BrandWeek reports today that they ditched the “Always low prices” motto after 19 years for “Save Money, Live Better.” MSNBC goes into more detail mentioning there was an “economic study” done by Global Insight and advertising by the Martin Agency.

The Boston Globe tells us about Wal-Mart and “The Battle of Vermont.” If the company is looking for markets to test out all of these new messages, we don’t suggest this one.