PR professionals lukewarm on An Inconvenient PR Truth anti-spam campaign

Agency chiefs launch campaign for change, but get lukewarm response.

Anti-spam campaign: An Inconvenient PR Truth
Anti-spam campaign: An Inconvenient PR Truth

Top PR professionals are showing limited enthusiasm for a controversial campaign aimed at cutting PR spam.

The campaign, named An Inconvenient PR Truth, was launched last Thursday by Realwire chief executive Adam Parker, with the backing of other senior PR professionals including Borkowski founder Mark Borkowski.

The centerpiece of the campaign is a 'Bill of Rights' - a list of demands from journalists and bloggers focusing on how they want to be approached by PR practitioners (see right).

The project has led to much debate on prweek.com/uk, with some initial signs of support from PROs. However, noticeably absent from the list of campaign backers were the major global PR agencies.

This week, it became clear key players at the major agencies were not won over. Weber Shandwick worldwide chief digital creative officer James Warren said: 'This has generated a great deal of discussion about improving the quality of PR, which can only be good.

Do I think this Bill of Rights in its current format is enforceable, or even entirely desirable? I'm yet to be convinced.'

Niall Cook, director of marketing technology at Hill & Knowlton, said: 'Poorly targeted and unsolicited email is an issue for everyone, not just journalists and PROs, and a campaign that tars an entire industry with the same brush is unlikely to endear itself to those who already follow good practice.'

Fleishman Hillard MD Lucien Vallun described the campaign as merely 'a meaningful reminder that long-term professional relationships with the media are cultivated primarily by the information provided to them'.

Porter Novelli and Edelman declined to comment when approached by PRWeek.

Campaign founder Parker shrugged off such criticism, saying he had been pleased with the debate started by the campaign. 'We are delighted by the way the debate has taken off. We hope this dialogue will lead to constructive change that combines education, technology and understanding to put an end to this issue once and for all.'

Meanwhile, PRCA director general Francis Ingham said the trade body was in favour of the campaign, but stopped short of fully endorsing it.

CIPR president Jay O'Connor said her industry body ' would be happy to host a session with practitioners, media, bloggers and the campaign founders'.

'BILL OF RIGHTS'

- Permission required Press releases should only be sent to recipients who have given express or implied permission.

- Media lists The PR person should not wholly rely on purchased media lists to ensure accurate targeting.

- Telephone chasing After a press release, the recipient should not expect a follow-up call from the sender.

- Succinct headlines A recipient should receive releases with succinctly written headlines, so a decision of interest can be made quickly.

- No attachments A recipient has the right not to receive any press release or related content as an attachment to the corresponding email.

78% of press release emails are irrelevant to recipients

55% of recipients have taken action to block a sender of news

1.7bn irrelevant press release emails are sent each year in the UK and US

25% of recipients prefer press release emails to be addressed personally

Source: inconvenientprtruth.com.

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