He is keen to see “a body of law that is practical for the practice of Public Relations” and believes such campaigns (which date back to Bernays) qualify as anti-fair trading activities, mentioned in the Rogers review of Environmental Health and Trading Standards services:
Fair trading (trade description, trade marking, mis-description, doorstep selling) … (where) people become victims of scams.
I think this is an interesting suggestion and support more recognition of existing legislative controls on the practice of public relations (emphasising this in teaching CIPR qualificaitons).
Demonstrating how PR operates within a legal framework – and pro-actively seeking further regulation – could help counter those who believe that PR in inherently unethical and that practitioners are employed to do whatever their paymasters – or achieving objectives – require.
Being able to provide strategic counsel on the basis of legislation, not simply moral or professional guidelines, benefits PR and enhance its recognition amongst senior management.
One concern is that an escalation in regulation might follow – a discussion over controls on healthcare marketing/PR activities in a class a few weeks ago, revealed how everytime behaviour was constrained, new ways were thought up to circumvent these with more “creative” approaches.