At the Campaign Conference last week, Robert Taylor-Hughes, managing director of Beiersdorf Middle East, said that there was little value in public relations firms issuing press releases that end up being inserted unedited into newspapers and magazines.
Taylor-Hughes, whose company's brands include Nivea, said: "We live in a cut and paste age and what most of them [the media] do is simply cut and paste the information.
"To me, that's advertorial, it's you saying what you want to say about your brand. What public relations should be is generating a relationship with the public."
Taylor-Hughes said he wanted to see better dialogue between journalists and brand owners to foster more sophisticated editorial content.
"Then it's what the media wants to say, which is then PR generated by communication. I think the cut and paste world is destroying what public relations can offer," he said.
Fellow panellist Dave Robinson, CEO of Hill & Knowlton Middle East, argued that press releases should only provide the starting-point for a story. "One of the sickening things in this part of the world is the propensity to cut and paste a press release and stick it in the paper," said Robinson.
"If you've ever read an article by 'staff reporter', you can just insert the name of the PR company that works for that brand. If you're in any way a sophisticated consumer and you read that, it's very unlikely to make any difference to you."