Tuesday, April 08, 2008

On the Mark -- Mark Penn Follow-Up

As I was saying about conflicts.

This from Ad Age (beginning of story):

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- To see how the tables have turned on famed crisis counselor Burson-Marsteller in the past few days, consider this. Ted Smyth, chief administrative officer and senior VP-corporate and government affairs at Heinz, is used to his company paying the firm big bucks for PR counsel. Now he's got some of his own PR advice for an agency that, after decades of quietly helping corporate giants out of sticky situations, is caught up in a crisis of its chief executive's making.

"He forgot the importance of avoiding conflict of interest or any apparent conflict of interest," Mr. Smyth said in an interview. "It was impossible to balance the responsibility of being the chief strategist for Clinton while representing a number of clients for Burson. At some stage it was going to end up in tears." ..."What Burson should make clear is that they have rules in place to avoid conflicts of interest and that these rules will be strictly articulated and enforced, which they weren't in this case," Mr. Smyth said. "The agency will need to issue a policy or, if they have one, re-issue it, indicating how this would be handled in the future."

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