Most PR Agencies Would Have Accepted An Assignment From Facebook

I honestly believe the title of this post to be accurate. However, I’ve been wrong many times before and wanted to get everyone’s opinion on it.

As I’m sure you all have heard, Facebook hired Burson-Marsteller for a campaign aimed to raise concerns related to privacy issues associated with Google’s Social Circle network

Now, if one of the biggest agencies in the world was willing to accept this task, wouldn’t other large agencies do this as well? Or, can you even imagine the type of excitement a boutique firm would have if it found out it had a chance to land this type of account?

But I’m not here to say whether or not what Burson did or how they did it was right or wrong, I’m just trying to find out how many people really believe their PR agency would have ultimately turned down an opportunity to work with Facebook on this assignment. Please take the poll below and let’s find out!


19 comments on “Most PR Agencies Would Have Accepted An Assignment From Facebook

    • Do we really know that Burson didn’t have the same feelings? We can argue that execution was poor, but again, we don’t know all of the facts to really judge

  1. I’m one of those boutique firms that really can’t stand the bad reputation that PR gets when there are PR professionals out there that are really trying to do right by the profession and bring it into another light and dispel the myths about us being flacks and spin doctors. I would certainly turn down that assignment, then write a press release about that: “Boutique PR firm turns down facebook account” who doesn’t want to read about that?!?!

    • Burson is an agency that has been around many years and I find it hard to believe that all of a sudden they changed their way of thinking and took an assignment they knew was going to get this type of negative coverage. Again, we don’t know what went on behind closed doors and how the strategy plan was crafted. The execution clearly didn’t work well, but maybe there’s a reason why that was? We honestly don’t know. Only Facebook and BM can answer that.

  2. You’re absolutely right Worob and thank you for bringing me down off my high horse. We have no right to judge, because we truly don’t know all the details of what really went down. But it’s like you said, BM is an agency that has been around for many years, so I guess I just don’t understand how such a slip could happen with a well-known and reputable agency. My biggest concern is the effect this has on the PR industry overall. It’s stories like these that don’t help our case one bit. Here’s an article that speaks to the battle we’re trying to fight:

  3. In my work I have most certainly pointed the press to issues with my client’s competitors. However, they all knew I was working for the client and all negative statements were from independent third parties. In this case, representatives from a huge PR agency tried to get active journalists to dig up the evidence that Google Social had privacy issues without disclosing they were working on behalf of Facebook. Remember the B-M reps that were involved were former journalists, given them extra clout. I assume “the pitch” came during friendly meeting or lunch. There is no way one can look at this and think it was anything but unethical. A large firm like B-M can absorb the heat. A boutique or even mid-sized agency could be destroyed by the backlash. Working with Facebook would great for any PR pro, but the money, clout and connections that could come with it cannot justify doing something this unethical. So, yes, am very surprised at the results of this poll.

  4. The missing option here is: accept the brief but advise them on a different strategy.

    Not many agencies would be able to resist Facebook’s business, but this was a really hamfisted way of going about it, and Facebook doesn’t need to do this.

    It does make you wonder who’s been briefing against Facebook to push them to this kind of behaviour.

  5. I wonder what the billings were. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I would/wouldn’t take a project/assignment from Facebook but for some, money talks. Correction, for a lot of people money talks.

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