The Council of PR Firms got into a flap this week with ad executive Edward Boches of Mullen by inviting him to speak at a Boston event, but then dis-inviting him after discovering he is from the ad side.
A storm of criticism led by Josh Sternberg of digiday.com said CPRF had shown itself to be uninformed by failing to note that "advertising, marketing and PR are no longer separate functions."
Another critic was David Armano of Edelman who noted that PR firms are buying a lot of ads these days.
Boches, who is chief innovation officer at Mullen and a professor at Boston University, posted his rejection on his blog and Twitter and touched off 550 responses.
Sternberg said CPRF should not have picked a fight "with a guy who has 27,000 Twitter followers."
Not only has Boches been invited back, but he has a new topic to cover, says Sternberg.
Wrote Boches in his blog post: "If there's one thing we've learned in an age of conversation, uber-connectivity, user-generated content and the impact of technology, it’s that we need to break down the walls and get rid of narrow labels."
"It's all blurring together anyway," writes Sternberg.
Dave Senay of FleishmanHillard is chair of CPRF and Kathy Cripps is president and head of the staff.