I received a suggestion from a company which for me (I have 12 years of print media experience in the trunk) was hilarious. Despite all debate approaching press ethics and the marketing law in the most recent years there are still PR and marketing departements that try to manipulate writers (that are often kind and creative, however not necessarily enlightened enough on press-ethics and the law) to guarantee their brands media space in exchange for products or not seldom far too little money.
Let me break it down for you shortly.
Applies to journalists and any writer that takes themselves but foremost their readers seriously. Press ethics are broad and concerns several areas where for example, you can protect someone by not writing about a suspect of a crime before he or she is actually convicted for the crime (journalists aren't ment to be assholes, they are ment to enligheten society without harming individuals). Press Ethics also includes not guaranteeing coverage, not neccisarily revealing when, where and how you will publish something and not guaranteeing a positive outcome in your review of whatever it is that you are reviewing if that is not in fact your honest opinion. You write for the people who read your stuff - not for the people who sell mascara. Ok? Ok. Press ethics are not the law. It's about respecting your work and your readers - as a writer. It's a choice you make. A good one.
Applies to everyone marketing everything.
A marketing collaboration in which from you have received products or money in exchange for writing about them in any marketing purpose shall clearly be labelled just as such if not obviously clear (like a full page image ad, for instance).
Suggestions on how to label an advertorial (an editorial with ambition to sell or market a product and/ or service) could be:
- this text is an advertising collaboration
- In collaboration with
And so on. Easy.
Have no such agreements been made and products have been sent to you on an unconditional note where you are free to test, think and write what you want you are not obliged to label it as a collaboration - since it's not one.
PR agencies should know this so DEAR GOD, let's hope that in this particular case it was the intern. Nevertheless for this sole reason shall I make my policies clear;
No collaborations here will ever take place that does not apply with above.
Should, however reviews appear: Don't get me wrong, I love testing products and experiences. We need them in our life (sometimes we just want them and that's more than perfectly fine) and if I can help you find your faves I'n the jungle I will gladly do so. As long as they apply with above.
My opinions are not for sale.
Besides, I already sold my soul to satan ages ago and he is having way to much fun with it to give it back.