This Week in PR Ethics (12/1/22): Is Keurig the Payment Ethics Grinch? FTX and more

Happy December! Less than five weeks left in the year, with the holidays, CES, and NRF fast approaching.  One thing that hasn’t changed is the plethora of ethics issues.  There are a few doozies to highlight this week.

  • Is Keurig the Payments Ethics Grinch? – I was blown away by this article in Provoke that highlights how the latest Dr. Pepper/Keurig PR RFP includes a clause for 360-day payment terms (yes, being paid a year after you do the work) and the requirement to use a service that frequently costs 5-10% of the fee processed.  This is predatory a best, playing on some agencies’ desire to have a big brand name.  Personally, if the details are accurate, I see it as violating the Fairness value of PRSA’s code of ethics.  I am used to the back and forth of 30-, 60- or 90-day payment terms, and discussing when you play freelancers – but 365 days? Really???


  • FTX and wokeness – There are so many ethical failures associated with FTX I could write a book (and I am sure someone will) – But this quote from Bankman-Fried really jumped out at me. “Nevertheless, Bankman-Fried in the interview unleashed a tirade against regulators, called “ethics” a “dumb game we woke Westerners play.”  First of all, ethics is global and always has been. Yes, too many people conflate it with SPAM/SPAK (Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and Mill/Kant). But that ignores Confucius, Lao Tzu, Mozi, and many more.  Second, more and more studies show that ethical companies perform better in the long term. 


  • Twitter – Need I say more? This could be a standing head for the next few months. From layoffs, to content moderation to impersonation, there is more than enough to go around

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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