PR agency guarantees: media coverage or your money back

A PR agency is making the controversial move of promising “to secure media coverage for clients in newspapers, magazines, television or radio within three months of being engaged” or it will work for free.  

sally-romanoThe move comes from Brisbane-based PR agency Publicity Queen. According to the agency’s Sally Romano: “The guarantee of media exposure takes the perceived risk out of PR and therefore can be viewed as a failsafe option.”

However, the promise seems to conflict with the Public Relations Institute of Australia’s code of ethics which states: “Members shall refrain from proposing or agreeing that their consultancy fees or other remuneration be contingent entirely on the achievement of specified results.”

Romano’s press release is accompanied by a biography in which she describes herself as a pioneering Australian marketing blogger. Her blog has had one update since last November.

The issue was first raised in a posting on Dynamic Business. In it, editor Jen Bishop said:

“While I see what they’re doing and admire it as a business tactic, as a journalist, I’m not sure it sits well with me, which is why I didn’t agree to run it. The media is-or should be-independent, so you cannot guarantee anything to your clients in terms of coverage. And as an editor, the thought of having stories pushed on me because the PR’s not going to get paid unless they’re published within 3 months, makes me a bit uncomfortable.”

She added: “I ran it past another PR contact who said: ‘The only way you can ‘guarantee’ coverage is if you are placing an ad.'”


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