1. Money
Send to a Friend via Email

Discuss in my forum

10 Differences Between Advertising and Public Relations

By

If you're searching for a career or trying to promote your company, you may have questions about advertising vs. public relations. These two industries are very different even though they're commonly confused as being one and the same. The following ten properties just scratch the surface of the many differences between advertising and public relations.

1. Paid Space or Free Coverage

  • Advertising:
    The company pays for ad space. You know exactly when that ad will air or be published.

  • Public Relations:
    Your job is to get free publicity for the company. From news conferences to press releases, you're focused on getting free media exposure for the company and its products/services.

2. Creative Control Vs. No Control

  • Advertising:
    Since you're paying for the space, you have creative control on what goes into that ad.

  • Public Relations:
    You have no control over how the media presents your information, if they decide to use your info at all. They're not obligated to cover your event or publish your press release just because you sent something to them.

3. Shelf Life

  • Advertising:
    Since you pay for the space, you can run your ads over and over for as long as your budget allows. An ad generally has a longer shelf life than one press release.

  • Public Relations:
    You only submit a press release about a new product once. You only submit a press release about a news conference once. The PR exposure you receive is only circulated once. An editor won't publish your same press release three or four times in their magazine.

4. Wise Consumers

  • Advertising:
    Consumers know when they're reading an advertisement they're trying to be sold a product or service.

    "The consumer understands that we have paid to present our selling message to him or her, and unfortunately, the consumer often views our selling message very guardedly," Paul Flowers, president of Dallas-based Flowers & Partners, Inc., said. "After all, they know we are trying to sell them."

  • Public Relations:
    When someone reads a third-party article written about your product or views coverage of your event on TV, they're seeing something you didn't pay for with ad dollars and view it differently than they do paid advertising.

    "Where we can generate some sort of third-party 'endorsement' by independent media sources, we can create great credibility for our clients' products or services," Flowers said.

5. Creativity or a Nose for News

  • Advertising:
    In advertising, you get to exercise your creativity in creating new ad campaigns and materials.

  • Public Relations:
    In public relations, you have to have a nose for news and be able to generate buzz through that news. You exercise your creativity, to an extent, in the way you search for new news to release to the media.
Related Video
Adam Gerber on advertising business models
Jameson Hsu on Online Gaming and Advertising

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.