PRSA Commentary — WOMMA Ethics Code Review

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PRSA commentary in response to the Word of Mouth Marketing Association's (WOMMA) annual Ethics Code Review.

PRSA commentary in response to the Word of Mouth Marketing Association's (WOMMA) annual Ethics Code Review.

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  • 1. January 4, 2011 PRSA Commentary — WOMMA 2010 Ethics Guide ReviewContests:Disclosure of relationships, motivation, compensation and other pertinent factors should be thebasis of all forms of marketing and communications, including emerging practices like socialmedia and online contests. Ethical marketing and communications require that marketersreasonably inform consumers of the motivations and intent of use behind the messaging theyreceive throughout the process, no matter the medium used.There needs to be disclosure — by the marketer and by the person engaged in that contest —within every single message, blog post, tweet, etc. mentioning the contest. The breadth of socialnetworks and how far they reach means that marketers now capture consumers’ interests atdifferent times and through different lenses.Where practical, social media contests should provide a link to a clear and simple Web pagenoting all of the uses for the contest, the information submitted as part of the contest and towhom that information will be given to and for what purposes.A simple feature that would allow for all messaging and communications within a social mediacontest to contain the necessary disclosure, and within space/character limitations, can befound in a free service like, which provides a tiny URL link back to a comprehensivedisclosure page relevant to that specific contest.Material Connection within Contests:A material connection does exist between a brand and a blogger (or any participant) when theblogger writes about and/or discusses his or her contest entry in any format (blog, Tweet,Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.). This is particularly true if the participant is trying to obtain some typeof personal or professional benefit from the contest and/or from his/her promotion of thatcontest.Rosanna Fiske, APRChair and CEOPublic Relations Society of America (PRSA) 33 Maiden Lane, 11th Fl. . New York, NY 10038-5150 . Tel: 212-460-1400 . Fax: 212-995-0757 .