November 9, 2017

PR is equivalent to Advertising- A Myth

question mark

‘Advertising you pay for, Public Relations you pray for.’ Though the dictum is an old one, it still holds true to its value.

People often confuse PR to any form of advertising. How many times have you been asked as a PR practitioner if you work at an advertising agency? I am sure the answer is- A LOT of times.

To all the people out there who tend to confuse these two professions as one:-

NEWS FLASH- Advertising and PR are dramatically different. 

Simply put, advertising places ads while PR places news. Say for a lifestyle brand, the agenda of both advertising and PR is to elevate consumer’s interest in product or service. Both often use the same media; print, radio, television and the Internet. This is where the similarities end.

An advertisement only displays/presents the product or service offered by a certain brand/company. On the other hand Public Relations generates news out of that product/service and news coverage builds credibility. The target audience is skeptical of what he/she see.




Advertisements cost a fortune and the effect lasts for a short period of time. PR is cost-effective and develops a lasting effect on the potential audience. Brands are best built with a long-term public relations plan, not a short-term advertising blitz.

One can find a ton of advertisements of any and every brand on a regular basis but how many of these brands make it to the articles in the news publications. Public Relations does not only builds credibility but also establishes you as the industry expert in the said domain. Advertisements can be hoax and deceiving but PR builds brand awareness and loyalty as the PR activities often go through a lot of screening and cross-checking.

The reach of PR is wide and far but that of advertising is limited. Public Relations also stimulates qualified sales leads. According to studies, articles often pull more and better qualified inquiries than ads for the same product in the same publication. For instance, a full page advertisement of a natural and organic lifestyle brand does not garner the kind of attention that it gets from an editorial on the benefits of organic essential oils.

So now that the bubble of confusion is busted it is your call to choose between- an expensive short-term medium or a cost-effective credibility generating method to publicize your brand/company.