Posted by: Rajiv Harjai | April 23, 2007

To be or Not to be Transparent, that is the Question

This news story in PR Week shows how important transparency is and how being non transparent, has a bigger price to pay.

Recently a source at Manchester Evening News (MEN) said, ‘The agency is trying to make fools of us. This is not the first time they’ve done something like this. The Metro is now going to veto all of Brazen’s press releases.’

What sparked this reaction was apparently a news story in MEN’s sister concern, Manchester Metro News, which reported that ‘lovestruck Matt Moxham’ had arranged for 20 gallons of melted chocolate to be pumped into the bath of ‘chocoholic girlfriend’ Leah Watson. ‘Matt spent £700 on the treat – created by Stockport confectioners Cheshire Chocolates,’

Later the MEN, diary editor Dianne Bourne identified that ‘Leah’ in the story as “mid-ranking Brazen PRO and Matt as the boyfriend of one of the agency’s directors.”

Brazen founder Nina Wheeler insists this was not a PR stunt gone wrong. She says the chocolate bath did really happen – just with a different couple…Wheeler tells us that Cheshire Chocolates are not clients.

My thoughts on this…firstly, why would someone pitch such a story, when the company who is most going to benefit out of it is not even their client? Secondly, if it is for another couple then why not mention their names?

Anyways, the point I am trying to convey to PR students is, that transparency is vital. Being non-transparent can get you into a lot of trouble. On the other hand being transparent might not get your story in the newspaper or the publicity you wanted but it will be rewarded sooner or later.

Another Lesson in PR, be transparent and people will like you even more if not less, and always ask yourself this question, are you ready to pay the heavy price for not being transparent?

(Every Text in Italics is quoted from PR Week) – Me being transparent 🙂 But you already knew that.



  1. Hi Raj

    I generally agree with you and think transparency is is becoming increasingly important for several reasons.

    1. More people are being found out.
    2. The effects of not being transparent are difficult to forsee- a potential backlash?
    3. I think more people are wisening up and seeing cheap tricks as a bit crass.

    If you are not going to be transparent it may pay off with media coverage in the short term etc.

    But being transparent may pay off just as much (you can still be transparent and clever?) and you don;t have to worry about any backlash or long term effects.

    In an age of increasing competition is it really worth the stress of not being transparent?


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