4A's Nancy Hill and Emmanual Tchividjiann of Ruder Finn Discuss Ethics, Leadership, and Law

3/18/2016 Anonymous 0 Comments

At BIC, we get up close and personal and seek answers to some of the most pressing questions of the day, with some of the most brilliant minds in our industries, in arguably the best city in the world. 

Nancy Hill, President of the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As), and Emmanuel Tchividjian, Chief Ethics Officer of Ruder Finn, recently joined Professor Angela Chitkara's Leadership, Law and Ethics class to discuss ethics in the advertising and public relations world on a day Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed the U.S. Government’s request to unlock a phone belonging to an alleged terrorist involved in the San Bernardino shootings. 

Although initial reports stated that the U.S. Government saw Apple’s move to go to the media as a marketing tactic, both Hill and Tchividjian believe Apple did the right thing by being transparent. “Doing the right thing” requires our Leadership, Law and Ethics class to evaluate the alignment of an organization’s brand with its mission and values. 

What guides us when faced with an ethical dilemma? There are several ethical parameters at play – the industry guidelines as defined by the 4As and Public Relations Society of America ( PRSA), our own personal and professional ethics, the existing laws, and those of an organization. 

According to both Nancy and Emmanuel, self regulation is key for an organization. It’s better to be pro active and self regulating than face the government’s wrath. An example of self regulating is raising ethical concerns that arise before the government does. The 4As has three lobbyists on the payroll to serve as advocates for the Advertising industry on issues such as tax structures. Additionally, industry bodies have a vested interest in serving as a voice for its members and shaping legislation on Capitol Hill. 

Emmanuel cited the important distinction between an organization’s internal ethical guidelines that governs the direction of the organization and the existing law. Crafting the ethical guidelines involves the participation of many throughout the organization such as C-Suite, human resources, the communications team and of course, the in house counsel team. Ms. Hill believes One should never ignore their own personal ethics and their ability to sleep well at night. 

Both Ms. Hill and Mr. Tchvidjian believe it is possible to develop a common ethical framework for our convergent industries of Advertising, Creative and Public Relations. The challenge is the investment of time and resources. Luckily for us, here at BIC, our class can do the thinking for our industries and propose solutions for a new era. Stay tuned.