The latest PR news from the Holmes Report.
Opinion and commentary from the Holmes Report.
The Holmes Report's Echo Chamber PR show lifts the lid on key stories and trends.
Latest video interviews and campaigns from the Holmes Report.
Industry-leading analysis of the PR stories that matter.
Up close and personal with leaders from the marketing and PR worlds.
Keeping up with the latest thinking on PR industry expansion.
Coverage of the Cannes Lions from the Holmes Report in association with H+K Strategies.
Coverage of the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Creative work, trends and views from the global public relations industry.
Dedicated to exploring the new frontiers of PR as it dives deeper into social media, content and analytics.
Our coverage of key technology PR trends and challenges around the world.
From brand marketing to conscious consumerism, coverage of key marketing and PR trends worldwide.
Coverage of healthcare PR and marketing.
Financial communications, sector news and mergers and acquisitions.
Coverage of global corporate reputation and communications news and trends.
The key global benchmark of PR agency rankings, industry size and trends, new for 2016 onwards.
The world's 100 most powerful corporate communicators.
The Holmes Report profiles marketing and communications innovators from across North America, EMEA and Asia-Pac.
The most creatively awarded PR campaigns and agencies in the world.
In-depth annual research into the PR industry's efforts to raise creative standards.
The Holmes Report comprises an annual book of the best agencies, campaigns, influencers and stories of the year.
The key historic global benchmark of PR agency rankings, industry size and global trends, for 2015 and previous years.
The world's biggest PR awards programme, dedicated to benchmarking the best PR work from across the globe.
A high-level forum designed for senior practitioners to address the critical issues facing the profession.
Exploring the innovation and disruption that is redefining influence and engagement.
The Holmes Report's annual selections for PR Agencies of the Year, across all of the world's major markets.
Bringing together in-house comms leaders with PR firms to discuss critical global issues.
For global agencies, we must tell our leadership that we would rather miss our numbers than accept revenues unethically earned.
06 Jun 2011 // 11:00PM GMT
On April 15, incited by an online disinformation campaign that implied that drinking a certain brand of milk powder caused three-year-old girls to grow breasts and reach premature puberty, four powerful Chinese government ministries announced a two month campaign against "illegal PR". The government statement noted that it sought to end the recruitment of agencies and "Internet mercenaries" to engage in "improper competition with rivals" fabricating and distorting facts, and reaping profits by sensationalizing issues on the internet.
Three days later, the International Communications Office of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee distributed a list of websites and phone numbers where the general public could report illegal online PR practices. Online PR now joins corruption and domestic violence as those social phenomena requiring a reporting hotline.
On May 16th, one hundred and forty of China's largest and most popular websites, including search giant Baidu, portals Sina, Sohu, and Netease, and online video site Youku, signed a convention vowing to quash any form of illegal publicity on their sites. Leading this charge was not the public relations industry, but the Internet Society of China.
Despite the pall this incident casts on the entire public relations industry, the response from China's PR agencies has been disappointing. Last November in Shanghai, not long after the original scandal broke, twelve of the larger global PR firms signed a pledge to eschew some of the more egregious practices in China. But the pledge lacked teeth, made no promise to address the root of the problem, and frankly came off as little more than a PR exercise for the signing agencies. That the Chinese Communist Party and a huge portion of the online media industry felt compelled to take action just a few months later should tell us as much.
There can be no greater indictment of the public relations craft than when we cede the initiative on our professional ethics to the media and government. Oura inaction as a profession in the face of widespread unethical practices (one agency executive was quoted as saying that up to 20% of his clients were affected by competitor-generated online PR smear campaigns) makes us all look like guilty curs slinking into the shadows.
And we are not. Ethical public relations firms and practitioners are in the majority in China, many of them fighting the temptation (and sometimes, the demand) to engage in nefarious practices because they are told "this is the way things are done here."
Nobody will know that, though, until and unless we start to clean our own house. If honest practitioners are to distance ourselves from the amoral cretins that taint our craft, each PR firm must not only set standards of communications ethics, we must stick with them even when doing so costs us business. For Chinese agencies, this begins at home, but for global agencies, we must tell our leadership that we would rather miss our numbers than accept revenues unethically earned.
Do we have the courage to put our money where our ethics are? I hope so. The alternative is to prove to the world their worst suspicions about our profession.
David Wolf is CEO of Wolf Group Asia.
The SABRE Awards is the world's largest PR awards program, running across six continents. 2016 details now available.
Creating an agency profile within the Holmes Report Agency Playbook is easy. Contact us for basic page set-up or for upgrade options, to help make more of your profile and drive more business.
The definitive annual study of global PR industry size, rankings and trends.
Lifting the lid on the biggest PR stories from around the world.
26 Jul 2016
The Holmes Report dives into research that explores the organizations the Influence 100 work for, th ...
26 Jun 2016
We're in Cannes for the marketers, but awards aren't the only way to reach them. Also, stop submitti ...
24 Jun 2016
WPP CEO addresses the integrated marketing moves of his PR firms and explains why the Leave campaign ...
Intelligence and insight from across the PR world.
We feel that the views of the reader are as important as the views of the writer. Please contact us at [email protected]
© The Holmes Report 2016