This month, the UK’s press was shaken by the news that media mogul Max Clifford had passed away. Clifford has been credited for rewriting the rules of public relations and was a firm believer that a made-up story was just as good as a real one. 
While you can’t deny that he had created a successful business — in the sense that it was highly profitable— he often left ethics at the door. 

During my career I’ve been asked to do some rather bizarre things. From babysitting X-Factor stars and sourcing a specific brand of sushi they were craving, to ensuring nobody woke a certain motocross stunt champion from his nap. Despite these unusual incidents, I’ve been fortunate not to ever have to question my ethics. 

As public relations officers, ethics is at the heart of what we do. We are not just copywriters, but consultants. It’s our role to advise clients on the best course of action that will enhance their brand and not negatively impact it. 

As members of the Charted Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), we are bound by a Code of Conduct to maintain the highest standards of integrity, confidentiality, and financial propriety. We are required to deal honestly and fairly in business with employers, employees clients and fellow professionals and uphold the reputation of the public relations profession. 

By not adhering to this code employers put their livelihood and that of the employees at risk. Just look at what happened to Bell Pottinger in September. After delivering a campaign that stirred up racial tensions in South Africa, the agency went into administration, making 250 staff redundant. 

So, while Clifford’s brand of PR certainly achieved column inches, was he really acting in the best interest of his clients and the industry, or was he simply sacrificing his ethics to fulfil his business’ bottom line? 

For more information on how to ensure your PR and marketing campaign remains ethical, get in touch with Stone Junction on 01785 225416 or e-mail us at
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