Today the subject of 'ethics of online media relations and sponsorship' has reared its head in mainstream media once more with a whole segment on Channel 7's Morning program devoted to the topic.
In a world in which companies can turn to high profile individuals online to seek positive coverage, all organisations need to ensure that in their quest for third party or celebrity endorsement that they don't cross over the line to become misleading to their customers.
The scale of fees typically start around $150 per post for high-profile Instagrammers with 100,000+ followers locally. The likes of Roxy Jacenko are said to net $200 per sponsored post. The highest profile models Kendall Jenner, Cara Delevigne, and Gigi Hadid can net anywhere from $125,000 to $300,000 per post.
Such figures were inconceivable back in 2009 when I headed the online pr and communications team at Network Communications.
Even then my recommendation to clients (see the post I wrote on the topic for our company's FreshChat blog) was the same as it is today. To avoid confusion, organisations must clearly differentiate between whether online commentators are independent media, or whether this is a commercial sponsorship.
So, whether you're interested in working with bloggers and online influencers to attract more interest in your brand or not, my advice remains that in the long run authenticity and transparency will win out over sleight of hand.
And if that's not enough incentive, Australian organisations who try to play in the grey zone may be targetted by the ACCC for misleading consumers. And let's face it no one wants a $1.1 million fine!.
ARCHIVED POST FROM FRESHCHAT BLOG BY NETWORK COMMUNICATIONS
The ethics of online media relations, it’s not sponsorship
February 27th, 2009 by Lesley White · 3 Comments
There was some controversy last week about a YouTuber who had allegedly accepted something from a company and then posted a video without declaring any kind of vested interest. It’s all detailed on www.mumbrella.com.au and is an important part of the ongoing discussion about what is ethical or unethical in the worlds of paid vs earned social media ‘coverage’ or at least commentary.
So… just a quick list about what we here at Network will and won’t do with online contacts.
We will treat online commentators with as much respect as traditional media warrant What does that mean? Well where the budgets and our access to information and materials allows we will:
We will also provide opportunities for the ‘publications’ those media represent to offer some value-adds in the forms of prizes to their readers/viewers communities, again within the client’s means.
To what extent do we mean value add? Well it’s impossible to be prescriptive given that we haven’t seen every type of client, product or service imaginable. However, and in general, it means:
What we will not do:
Make any inference to our contacts that this is in any way related to a specific attitude, review, or result. All we are seeking is their attention, with the hope they would like to broadcast their opinion within their own channels.
We will not promise to clients a specific, let alone positive, outcome for this access. At the same time, in keeping with usual public relations client briefing practices and based on our knowledge of contacts, we are likely to have an educated view about how that person may react, since we enjoy getting to know bloggers, social media commentators, reviews, web site owners, moderators, online media etc.
We will equally not allow any online contacts to use editorial coverage as a means of lobbying for advertising spend by our clients, however we will be happy to put them in touch with the relevant agency or department who makes those independent decisions. We would not then contact the advertising people with any recommendation that in any way links editorial favour to advertising spend.
And, should one of our online contacts write a negative report on a product or service, we will neither overtly nor subtly discourage that independent voice or opinion.
To summarise, Network Communications Australia and its consultants/advisors do not do cash for comment. We never have, and never will.
In line with our rules of engagement, when we do engage with online media, commentators and networks, we will always seek to understand first what our clients can add to them in terms of value, rather than what they can do for our clients.