Skip to main content
Responsible Marketing

Advertising and PR work better together

By September 5, 2008August 19th, 2020One Comment

I’ve often found myself explaining the difference between Advertising and Public Relations—primarily, what to use and when.

I also find myself defending Advertising far too often.

It’s an easy target, and its benefits are deeply misunderstood and under appreciated.

I’ve had a small tome on this subject cooking for the book and was going to distill it down into something a little more ‘bloggy’ and digestible.

Now I don’t have to.

Freddy Nager at The Cool Rules Pronto Blog wrote a post comparing the two quite nicely, then building a strong argument for discipline integration in Public Relations vs. Advertising: No Contest.

Here’s an excerpt:

So what’s my recommended approach? Integrate both publicity and advertising into your marketing campaign. They complement each others’ strengths and mitigate weaknesses, with the publicity providing the credibility while the advertising creates the buzz.

Let’s look at the case of Jack In The Box, a west-coast fast-food chain. In 1993, Jack In The Box suffered a major e. coli crisis, wherein some customers actually died. Since the chain was already struggling before this happened, the crisis could have led to bankruptcy. But a brilliant new campaign by advertising genius Dick Sittig — featuring the return of the Jack mascot with an attitude — signaled a bold renewal of the company and won over legions of new fans who happily stuck tiny Jack heads on their car antennas.

At the same time, Jack In The Box implemented an industry-leading food safety program that it actively promoted through the media. Note the separation of church and state here: Food safety? PR, since safety commercials are rarely entertaining enough to get noticed. Funny mascot? Advertising, since it’s hard to convey humor through the press. Together? A revived brand that’s now expanding nationwide… with — I must mention — some pretty good ice cream shakes.

I couldn’t agree more, and when considering the Advertising and PR academically, they are often combined anyway:

The point is, this is not an “or” statement, but an “and” statement. It’s not Advertising or PR, it’s Advertising and PR.

On their own, these disciplines suffer weaknesses difficult to overcome. But together, your Advertising can get people talking, then your P.R. can get people believing.

So, what’s the best integrated Advertising/P.R. effort you’ve seen?

Comment below to weigh in.

Subscribe to this feed.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Cassie says:

    You are exactly right! Advertising and Public Relations are two concepts that have been around for awhile, but with new technology and innovation they have become essential in a businesses success; and when combined effectively it can yield a fantastic response. 451 Marketing ( is a Marketing Firm that incorporates Advertising and Public Relations (as well as other forms of promotion) through new venues such as social networking websites, blogging and SEO when marketing their clients. This type of integrated marketing is extremely useful for every company when utilized correctly, and allows them to stand out from their competition.

Leave a Reply