Advertising vs. Public Relations – What’s the Difference?

“Ads are the cave art of the 21st Century.”

– Marshall McLuhan, Author

Three Girls MediaSkeptical of what you read in advertisements? Most consumers ignore ads or are wary of them.  So much for the effectiveness of advertising!  Many great products have failed to sell simply because there was no built-up excitement or market education for consumers, so expensive ads ended up being a waste of money.

PR is a more subtle, disciplined approach with the aim of influencing public opinion and behavior

When you read an actual article about a product or service or see it covered on TV news as opposed to a print ad or TV commercial, you’re much more inclined to pay attention.  PR brings credibility, knowledge and understanding of the product being promoted, so future advertising is more likely to succeed.

PR is a predictable, sustainable way to effect managed growth for your company

It is not designed to translate into thousands of immediate direct sales.  Sales often result from Three Girls’ media campaigns, but the primary goal of our campaigns is to help your company gradually build a national brand through strategic editorial coverage.  Brand awareness and name recognition are critical to this process.  Imagine the world of PR as a pyramid:


Name Recognition

Brand Awareness

Marketing * Advertising * Media

Public Relations *  Public Relations * Public Relations

Of course, pyramids are built from the BOTTOM up!

Research shows that it takes 5 to 7 impressions of a product or service before most consumers are compelled to buy non-essential items.  A sustained media presence in the national press will help achieve this over a period of 12 to 24 months.

Three Girls MediaPaid Space vs. “Free” Coverage

Advertising is paid space designed to sell your product directly to the consumer.  Ads are extremely expensive and usually not effective unless they’re extremely targeted and repeated over a long period of time.  Consumers are usually wary of advertising and often ignore it.

Editorial coverage that results from PR is free and more importantly, is an editorial endorsement of your product!  The credibility this brings makes PR the more valuable choice for small companies that can’t afford nationwide ad campaigns.

Total Control vs. Flexibility

Advertising makes you the boss as long as you’ve got the cash.  You decide exactly what your ad says, how it will look, when and where it will run.  You pay top dollar for this control.  The downside?  Advertising, even in small publications, is anything but cheap.

PR Puts the Media in Charge

They decide size, length, word choice, format and which photos, if any, are used.  You may not have layout control, but consumers pay far more attention to features and stories and put much more trust in them.  Best of all, Three Girls’ media campaigns are extremely cost effective compared to advertising.

Which Should You Choose?

Both advertising and PR can be extremely effective.  The most successful campaigns use both at the same time.  Three Girls understands that the cost of a dual PR/Ad campaign is out of reach for many companies.  For businesses with limited budgets, Three Girls recommends building your credibility and public awareness first with a strategic PR campaign, which will then help ensure the success of your future advertising.

PR offers Flexibility, Credibility, and Cost Effectiveness –
the same benefits you get with Three Girls!

How we can Spread the Good News About You?
Call or email today for a FREE 30-minute consultation with our CEO! 408-218-2391 or 360-955-1410

2 thoughts on “Advertising vs. Public Relations – What’s the Difference?

  1. Pingback: Public Relations In A Nutshell | kendrasalito

  2. Pingback: Advertisement Vs Public Relations | "DO WORK"-Stacey.G

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