|myths about pr and advertising
debunking the myths about pr and advertising
1. PR is the same as advertising No. Advertising uses paid-for media space or time to convey a message, which primarily aims to sell. In its media role (and PR is much more than simply media coverage) PR can only obtain coverage if it provides information that helps inform and educate readers, viewers and listeners. PR endeavours to inform or persuade journalists that a client’s story or message is worth publishing. The advertising message is guaranteed to appear exactly as it was prepared and submitted. 2. advertising placement is costly, PR coverage is free Yes in terms of media costs, but no in terms of message creation. There are two costs associated with advertising – the creation of the advertisement and the media placement. The creation of the material for the advertising campaign is usually far less than the placement costs. With PR, whilst any coverage gained is free of media cost, there is often considerable work involved in creating the message. This can be as simple as researching information or as complex as structuring and running a seminar or event with international speakers attending.
3. advertising can change behaviour while PR can’t No. Both can have an impact depending on the product, issue or circumstance. Many academics actually argue that in some instances PR can be more potent than advertising. However the real issue is not which discipline performs best – the smart people insist that both have to be used together to maximise the potential to effect change. 4. PR follows advertising in launches of new products Not any more. Today, for major new product launches, PR often leads and advertising follows. American Al Ries, author of 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, has become a strong PR advocate. “Today’s brands are built with publicity and maintained with advertising. The cart is now driving the horse,” he says. However for existing products, PR can play a supporting role – often targeting audiences that are hard to reach or the advertising spend can’t justify being stretched to reach. 5. media coverage will be enhanced if you advertise No. In mainstream and quality media, advertising and editorial are completely separate and it’s rare for an editorial person to even know what advertising is planned, let alone be influenced by it. Any journalist of standing will be offended by an attempt to play the advertising card to get editorial. However in some trade publications and where newspapers are running supplements, advertising and editorial can be linked.
6. there’s no difference between advertising and PR writing Wrong. They require completely different skills and approaches. Advertising copy generally aims to sell. PR writing has to be crafted in a news style that matches the medium for which it is used. Advertising can use superlatives. PR must be factual. 7. advertising can be planned and run as a campaign whereas PR is largely ad hoc Wrong. The best PR is when there is a plan and a program so that communication is taking place continuously rather than spasmodically. A PR plan should identify key messages, prioritise target audiences, choose a range of activities (including media), work to a timetable and have a firm budget. However PR can offer great tactical support when there is an opportunity to exploit or a crisis to handle. 8. PR and advertising agencies are uneasy bed-fellows Not so. Advertising agencies, which for so long dominated marketing communication, have come to accept PR these days as a necessary part of the marketing mix. PR agencies have matured and become more confident now that they have proven their worth in the marketing sphere. However PR and advertising people look at opportunities, issues and problems from completely different perspectives, which occasionally cause some differences of opinion. But this is healthy if the client manages this ‘creative tension’ well. 9. PR should be evaluated on the same basis as advertising No. When marketing people first started using PR they thought simply in advertising terms and used Advertising Value Equivalents (AVEs) as a measurement tool – calculating how much the space would have cost had it been paid-for (and usually using a multiplier to acknowledge the greater value of news/editorial coverage). However this is now discredited, as advertising and PR are fundamentally different disciplines and it is impossible to ascribe an advertising value on exposure that – in some cases by definition – cannot be bought.
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