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PR agency of the year makes major PR blunder
[December 19, 2010]

PR agency of the year makes major PR blunder

(Kippreport (Dubai) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) The PR industry here in the Middle East is better than it once was, but it would be fair to say that it still has a way to go before it is polished. This was brought home to Kipp today when it received a press release from the Middle East Public Relations Association, AKA MEPRA, announcing that this year's MEPRA Agency of the Year, D'PR, has been sanctioned for a PR blunder that would make even the worst in the region blush.

Having scooped the Agency of the Year title, the D'PR folk (yes we're aware the name is supposed to be lower case, but we don't approve of that nonsense) sent out a release announcing their victory. Along with their release they sent a photo of the team celebrating on stage. Unfortunately for them, they decided to doctor the photo before they sent it out, to remove the MEPRA sponsors logos and replace them with the D'PR logo.

Understandably, MEPRA got a bit upset over this. They have fined the agency, denied it the right to enter the Agency of the Year category next year, ordered it to conduct internal training on ethics, ordered it to attend a MEPRA symposium on ethics, and demanded every employ sign a code of conduct. All in all, pretty humiliating.

D'PR had little comeback, and have acknowledged the error and apologized all round. MD Camilla d'Abo sent a letter to MEPRA in which she said the company's "excitement and pride surrounding the achievement overtook our normal practices." Oddly, she said: "We had intended the image to be a memory of the event, and recognise this should not have been distributed to the public." Kipp is not sure that a doctored photo helps anyone retain the memory of an event. And surely adding your own logo just makes it look like you sponsored the award, thus devaluing it? Anyway, to the no doubt newly-chastened D'PR lot, we say: Chin up. This being the Middle East, there'll be another PR howler along before long to take everyone's mind off it. Just make sure it's not yours.

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