AVE white paper: accepting a broke system is “surrender of the worst kind”

In response to Meltwater’s “Estimating the Real Value of Public Relations” white paper, the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) and International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) have issued a joint statement condemning the support it gives to so-called advertising value equivalence (AVE).

Francis Ingham MPRCA, PRCA Director General and ICCO Chief Executive, commented:

“We are astonished that any credible measurement and evaluation professional would make the case for AVEs. AVEs measure absolutely nothing other than the vanity of those reporting them. I had hoped that the evaluation community had condemned them to the rubbish bin of history years ago.”

“To say that clients are used to them is to miss the point utterly. Some clients are indeed – but more enlightened ones know how meaningless they are, and have embraced the proper analysis of outcomes instead. Yes, there is further work to be done here, but accepting a broken system simply because some people are used to it is surrender of the worst kind. “

“The author makes much of the “Manhattan Beach Principles”. Frankly, I’ve never heard of them, and I doubt that anybody in the industry has. The principles that I believe in are the AMEC Barcelona ones, refreshed only last year, and endorsed by the PRCA, ICCO and the 33 associations ICCO represents.”

“I trust that Meltwater will repudiate this bogus paper with immediate effect.”



About PRCA

Who we are: Founded in 1969, the PRCA is the largest PR association in Europe, representing 18,000 people in agencies, in-house communications teams, and individuals. The PRCA promotes all aspects of public relations and internal communications work, helping teams and individuals maximise the value they deliver to clients and organisations.

What we do: The Association exists to raise standards in PR and communications, providing members with industry data, facilitating the sharing of communications best practice and creating networking opportunities.

How we do it and make a difference: All PRCA members are bound by a professional charter and codes of conduct, and benefit from exceptional training. The Association also works for the greater benefit of the industry, sharing best practice and lobbying on the industry’s behalf e.g. fighting the NLA’s digital licence.

Who we represent: The PRCA represents many of the major consultancies in the UK, and currently has more than 350 agency members from around the world, including the majority of the top 150 UK consultancies. We also represent over 250 in-house communications teams from multinationals, UK charities and leading UK public sector organisations.


About ICCO
The International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) is the voice of public relations consultancies around the world. The ICCO membership comprises national trade associations in 32 countries across the globe in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Americas and Australia. Collectively, these associations represent some 2,500 PR firms.