Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Price You Pay*

Kevin asks an important question for any PR practitioner [note to self – new discussion idea: can we come up with a one-word term for ourselves?].

They say money talks, but at some point you have to draw the line. This became relevant to me twice recently. About a year ago a recruiter asked me point-blank* what accounts I would refuse serve. Then this week a prospect asked me why I wanted to work on that particular account.

In the second instance I couldn’t wait to answer. This is an organization about which the dominant narrative is decidedly unfavorable. It’s a perfectly honest company in a legal business but people are accustomed to hearing bad things about it.

“You guys are getting a raw deal and that offends me as a PR guy,” I said.

OTOH: A few years ago I worked (very)briefly for a company that made an “herbal tea.” The tea was basically a diuretic designed to help the user pass a urine test for illicit drugs. For a time, I rationalized this because it was, after all, legal. I became uncomfortable when the client paid the retainer in cash and refused a receipt.

So the question is this:

Whose money is no good to you?

[*Because reader YD asked for more gratuitous Springsteen references]

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