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October 21, 2010

PRSA Submits New York Times Letter to the Editor on Revisions to FTC 'Green Guides' for Environmental Marketing

PRSA submitted a letter to the editor of The New York Times in response to an Oct. 7 article concerning the Federal Trade Commission's planned revisions to its "Green Guides" for environmental marketing, emphasizing the need for honest and transparent messaging in marketing materials, per the PRSA Code of Ethics.

To the Editor:
Re “Agency Seeks to Tighten Rules for Green Labeling” (Business Day, Oct. 7):

The Federal Trade Commission seeking public comment for the forthcoming revisions to its “Green Guides” for environmental marketing is a constructive initiative and puts marketers, communicators and advertisers on notice that the age of disingenuous or misleading advertising is officially over.
Digital communications and social media have given marketers increasing points of entry to influence consumers’ purchasing decisions. These very opportunities, however, place a greater and more immediate emphasis on the responsibility communicators and marketers must have to ensure their branding and marketing efforts engender trust with the public, rather than compel another era of consumer mistrust.
The FTC’s “Green Guides” call for transparency in all environmental marketing materials. That has been a hallmark of professional communicators who are members of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), who pledge to conduct themselves according to a Code of Ethics that calls, above all, for honesty and transparency in their messaging and branding.
As marketers, advertisers and communicators continue to develop new branding opportunities for emerging markets, we must keep to the high road. It’s a timeless concept that has thankfully found the backing of consumers and the FTC alike.

Gary D. McCormick
Gary D. McCormick, APR, Fellow PRSA, is chair and CEO of the Public Relations Society of America, the largest public relations professional association in the U.S.
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