This Week in PR Ethics (2/18/21) – ABCs of Ethical Failures, Astroturfing and Improper Brand Association

This week there were some really interesting stories on PR Ethics from the ABCs of Ethics to Astroturfing, improper brand association and what to do when you don’t have time to think. (Hint: make the time).

ABCs of Ethical Failures - from EthicalVoices
ABCs of Ethical Failures – from EthicalVoices




  • Astroturfing and Non-Disclosure David Vossbrink brought this ethical failure to my attention. Mother Jones reported how a number of PR firms and industries appear to be engaging in astroturfing on Nextdoor. Not only does this appear to involve front groups, but also PR staff pretending to be local community members when they are not to help sway public action.



  • Improper Brand Association – Ivanka Trump was in hot water for using her position to market her business (and others). The New York Post reported on a similar situation where a Meena Harris, a niece to Vice President Kamala Harris was using their relationship to help sell her brand. It came to light when the Biden White House told her to stop.
Mark McClennan, APR, Fellow PRSA
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Mark W. McClennan, APR, Fellow PRSA, is the general manager of C+C's Boston office. C+C is a communications agency all about the good and purpose-driven brands. He has more than 20 years of tech and fintech agency experience, served as the 2016 National Chair of PRSA, drove the creation of the PRSA Ethics App and is the host of


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