What is PR?

What chance has the PR industry got when it’s so misunderstood. Even by marketing luminaries as Seth Godin?

Full page “ad’s” is an advertising campaign; full page features is a PR campaign.

Very disheartening to see such a respected and knowledgable marketer get it wrong.

But yes, in the utopian society, full disclosure should always be required.


8 Responses to What is PR?

  1. This goes back to what I saying in a previous post on my blog. PR needs to get better at marketing itself. It needs to work harder to educate their clients and the business community as a whole about what PR is & what it can do.

    If even those within the marketing community don’t get PR, then surely PR hasnt even begun to make a forceful enough case for why it deserves to be seen as a credible and strategic business partner.

  2. Doug Hayashi says:

    To me, it’s this simple: Ad people have to pay for theirs, PR people get theirs for free.


  3. Ed Lee says:

    Ah, the distinction between earned and bought! Between trusted and ignored…

    Doug – looks like you used your SL avatar name again. the lines really are blurring!

  4. Ged says:

    Doug, your analogy of paid and free are true up to a point, though many consumer magazines in the UK often go with a certain amount of paid for content, or editorial competitions were copy and branding is traded for reader prizes.

    In some sectors of the business and trade press a colour-separation charge is levied to allow a photograph to appear with an mention. The company won’t appear without a photograph.

    Ed Lee’s concept of trusted versus ignored brings things up to date especially with social media.

  5. Ed Lee says:

    Hey Ged, thanks for getting in touch – from the Renaissance Chamber it looks as if we share a love of dance music.

    I think most agency PRs know which unscrupulous magazine editors blur the concepts of editorial and advertisment but those publications aren’t usually as highly regarded as those that don’t. for instance, i was never asked for a “colour seperation” charge for articles placed in computer weekly, it week or the FT.

    although things may have changed since I left…

    however, i wouldn’t lump in editorial competitions to this category as they benefit every party – the readers, the publication and the company that runs the competition. the same can’t be said for advertising which doesn’t go through the editorial filter.


  6. Brendan says:

    Hey Ed, I’ll beg to disagree with your disagreement of Seth’s assertion that this is an ad vs PR campaign.

    Personally, I believe advertising can be a powerful component of any integrated PR campaign to influence/change perceptions on an issue. The crux, however, is simply that, advertising is but one component – and only works as part of a broader campaign that might include lobbying, digital, media relations, events and other forms of outreach.

    Some might argue that the combination of advertising + PR = Marketing. And, in your case, I would argue that perhaps you’ve tied PR too closely to media relations. And while it may all be semantics, I’d suggest that, in this case, at least, this classifies as a PR-driven campaign that utilizes advertising as a tactic.


  7. Chris M says:

    I’m not sure that it’s useful to draw a clear distinction between the two in this day and age. In fact, I think advertising should be included–after all, publicity is just free advertising. Indeed, there needs to be much more collaboration between the three. There really just different desks in the same department. Some of them are just more proactive than the others.

  8. Shaula Evans says:

    In fairness Ed, down here in the US most astroturf campaigns and issue advocacy front groups are designed and executed by PR firms.

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