This Week in PR Ethics (5/13/21): Opioids, Bribery and Books

Spring has sprung and so have new ethical issues. This week we look at agencies’ role in the opioid crisis, when is bribery, bribery, and what is a great new resource?


  • Are Marketers Liable for the Opioid Crisis? – Massachusetts seems to think so and is suing a major multinational firm for their role in marketing opioids. Most agency have an indemnification clause, but it does show why you need to 100 percent believe in what you work on. (Disclosure, I used to work for a company in the same holding company, but our firm never worked on any of that business).


  • Answers for Ethical Marketers – Deirdre Breakenridge just published a great new book – “Answers for Ethical Marketers” (full disclosure: I contributed to it). It looks at many of the key issues communication professionals face in their daily work. Check it out.


  • When is Bribery, Bribery? – I really enjoyed this story about fans’ attempts to convince Aaron Rodgers to stay in Green Bay. What makes this interesting is since the City of Green Bay owns the stadium, does this make it bribery of a foreign official? This shows some of the grey waters behind incentives and giveaways.
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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