Owned media: you might own it but does that mean you can say what you like?

In case you didn’t know, and why should you, there are apparently three ways of defining the media channels that companies and individuals use to communicate with their audiences. PR Week’s editor gives a good definition of ‘bought, earned and owned’ so I won’t repeat it here but I did think it worth focusing on ‘owned’ media.

Owned media is where you’re communicating directly with your audience via Facebook or Twitter for example. You don’t own the medium you use, but you do own the relationship with your followers and you can say whatever you like (within the boundaries of acceptable taste and moral decency of course).

A strange contradiction
Anyway, turn over the page in the same edition of PR Week (29 June) that I mention above and you find a strange contradiction. A story appears on Wayne Rooney tweeting a Nike campaign that the Advertising Standards Authority ruled had not been ‘obviously identified as marketing comms’. Hang on. Surely he owns the relationship so why can’t he do and say whatever he likes (again within those boundaries of acceptable taste and decency)?

Why should Wayne Rooney be subject to the professional standards that the likes of journalists and publishing houses have to observe? Does he own the medium he’s using or not?

That’s the trouble/great thing with the likes of Twitter, it’s turned the traditional publishing model upside down. There are no rules, so why should celebrities or anyone who chooses to use it, listen to it, converse on it, play scrabble on it, care what the ASA, or anyone else says?

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