DuPont on June 13 picked up the Best of Silver Anvil Award of PR Society of America but it's tarnished.
DuPont is a client of the chair of the Society, Mickey Nall of Ogilvy PR.
Anthony Farina is head of global PA and director of corporate communications of DuPont.
Ogilvy should not have entered anything in the Anvils contest. There should not have been any chance that the judges would pick one of its entries.
Having the client of the elected chair of the Society win the grand prize among 847 entries raises charges of cronyism and insider favoritism.
Such behavior is covered by the Society’s Code which advises members to avoid "real, potential or perceived conflicts of interest." The following is from the Code:
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
Core Principle: Avoiding real, potential or perceived conflicts of interest builds the trust of clients, employers, and the publics.
Intent: To earn trust and mutual respect with clients or employers. To build trust with the public by avoiding or ending situations that put one's personal or professional interests in conflict with society's interests.
Is This Contest Fixed in Any Way?
PR Firms thinking of entering the Anvils in the future will wonder if the grand prize and perhaps many of the smaller prizes are locked up by insiders. They can certainly wonder if insiders have an edge.
If you're wondering what "Global Food Security" is, the answer is that it has to do with forecasts that the world's population will grow from seven billion currently to nine billion by 2050. :Unless influencers and policymakers find sustainable and affordable solutions to food security, a global fight to feed the world’s populace is expected," says the Society release on the award.
There are definitely a lot of starving people in the world and people who do not have access to clean water. What DuPont and others may do about this is not spelled out.
The release on the award says the campaign "helped DuPont shed its image as a chemical company, and recast itself as a leader in food security."
A more meaningful term that would be immediately understood is "food supply." That is really the issue. Food security sounds like DuPont is in favor of clean food and water and who wouldn't be in favor of that?
DuPont, with revenues of $35 billion and 70,000 employees, is the world’s third largest chemical company, according to Wikipedia.
It faces issues in air and water pollution and genetically-modified food. Mother Jones in 2010 made it No. 4 on its list of the top 20 polluters.
There's no doubt that the company is in most respects a model corporate citizen.
We wonder if it would allow its name to be used by the PR Society if it knew of the many abusive practices that beset it including blocking is membership from knowing who is in the Assembly, how the delegates vote, or what they say, and blocking press coverage of the Assembly for the past two years.
The Society is currently withholding its IRS Form 990, which has the pay packages of the top eight staffers, even though its audit has been published.
People in Anvil Photo Identified
Below is the photo published June 14 on the Society website that lacked the identity of those in the picture:
L-R: Michelle Rios, SVP, Ogilvy PR; Anthony Farina, head of global PA and director of corporate communications, DuPont; Chris Fillip, XVP/group head, Ogilvy PR; Jamie Moeller, mng. Dir., global PA practice, Ogilvy PR; Steve Betz, brand manager, DuPont Pioneer; Lucy Hurst, assoc. dir., Economist Intelligence Unit; Michael Geach, sales director, Economist Intelligence; Eric Minuskin, account director, Ogilvy PR