Row erupts as CIPR threatens to 'discipline' members that use AVEs

The CIPR's plan to make members "liable to disciplinary action" if they use the advertising value equivalent (AVE) metrics has been met by concern from both its president-elect and a former president.

However, the current president told PRWeek reaction from members had been "very positive".

On Friday, a CIPR statement said it would "publish a new professional standard on public relations measurement in the autumn, which will identify the use of AVEs in public relations as unprofessional".

The announcement said that members currently using AVEs would be given 12 months to "complete a transition to valid metrics", going on to say: "Members found to be using AVEs thereafter may be liable to disciplinary action."


Also see: A third of UK PR firms still use 'meangingless' AVEs measurement'


Guidance on the rules will be presented to the CIPR council in September, the organisation said.

The phrase "disciplinary action" has raised some eyebrows.

Ketchum chief engagement officer Stephen Waddington, who served as the CIPR president in 2014, said on Twitter that this threat was an "extreme departure" from the previous position of encouraging a reduction in AVEs through education.

David Gallagher, international president of Ketchum owner Omnicom Public Relations Group replied that he thought it "seems overboard to threaten 'disciplinary action' for sloppy metrics".

In response, president-elect for 2017 Sarah Hall tweeted: "Can't say I disagree."

The #FuturePRoof editor, who operates as Sarah Hall Consulting, declined to comment further when approached by PRWeek. As president-elect, Hall sits on the CIPR board alongside current president Jason MacKenzie.

MacKenzie told PRWeek: "The reaction from members to the announcement has been very positive, with the majority uniting behind our ambition to rid the industry of this false metric. We all agree that AVEs are at best unhelpful and at worst incredibly damaging to the PR industry we seek to professionalise.

"As an industry, we’ve been talking about this issue for far too long. It’s time that AVEs died and decisive action is needed to drive our industry forward.

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