Clients often ask what is the difference between advertising and PR. The short answer is advertising is a paid message that you control. PR is unpaid, sometimes referred to as “earned media.” What both of these unique disciplines have in common is summed up best by one word: Persuasion.

Ultimately, you want people to feel, say or DO something when you communicate with them. Something I learned not only in the classroom at BYU, but over years of experience is that clients expect results to their bottom-line. Whether you use advertising techniques or PR, top management realizes that both disciplines are very powerful–albeit a necessity in today’s world.

Thanks BYU!


12 thoughts on “Advertising & PR = Persuasion

  1. I agree that both of these are important in today’s world inside and outside of business. I think that with the increasing cases of ethical issues in business PR is becoming increasingly more important for firms to work with; regardless of whether your company is ethical or not, having PR support for issues that arise within the customer relation realm is important, and without proper PR some companies may collapse a lot faster and easier.

  2. I agree with this meaningful message, it gives me insights about how successful companies handle with negative events. Throughout advertising, it delivers words to the public. In addition, public relationship is trying to change public’s negative perception towards the company; public relationship is social responsible. These two words, advertising and public relationship, put together is a powerful tool and exhibits strong message to persuade the audience. Nowadays, many successful companies have powerful public relationship skills to handle tragedy.

  3. Before taking this PR class, I didn’t know that much about PR. Advertising seems to be more common in our life because it appears everywhere in our daily life. I could not tell that much difference between PR and advertising before. After taking the PR class, I get to learn about what PR really is and how important it is in today’s world. Now I know PR and advertising are two different things that have different principles, but both of them are influential and have the power to deliver certain kind of messages to the public. A company needs not only advertising to increase the public’s awareness to its products or services, but also a PR team to handle the public issues or crisis. I think in today’s business environment, a company’s long term success cannot be achieved without successful advertising and PR.

  4. Ultimately, having one and not the other can be a big mistake. Both are driven in persuasion and effectiveness, and its is amazing how the two can compliment each other so well. What I have experienced with the two is how PR strategy and Advertising strategy differ in drastic measures. Developing blogger relations, determining what is newsworthy, and retaining customer loyalty are very fun/stressful PR tactics, and conducting primary research, purchasing media, and developing creative executions are innovative/stressful advertising tactics. But a company is only half its potential if it only employs one discipline.

  5. This class certainly helped me understand the power of PR and the importance of it. I feel like many companies don’t take full advantage of it maybe because they don’t quite understand how to go about it but is definitely a field with potential for growth. Being able to leverage a PR campaign for the success of a company is something all companies should understand and invest resources in.

  6. I think that Public Relation is going to be more and more powerful because you don’t pay the media, you earn it. As a result, people and your publics think that is is more credible. Moreover, this class makes me understand how it is important to manage the reputation of a company because consumers’ behaviors depend more and more on the reputation of the company. Last but not least, in order to deal with a crisis, advertising alone is not so powerful. It is better to use PR tools to manage the crisis

  7. I think there is a technical difference between Advertising and PR. I believe that advertising is just delivering the message of the product with an innovative promotion. The advertisement will help the business to achieve their brand awareness and the interested consumers in purchasing their product. However, PR is a different way of connecting the Public and the management of the company where connect them together with letters or provide them with their releases, and PR will help the company prevent problems from happening and solve those issues faster with less costs. Both departments are very important for any business success and making money and earning people brand awareness.

  8. I think this class really did help illustrate the importance of utilizing both paid and earned media in a way to gain public interest in your company or foundation. It’s something that people tend to forget about, and it’s something that could possibly have a larger impact on driving sales.

  9. I agree with Ashley in that this class definitely put into perspective the differences between advertising and public relations and how both work together or against each other. I think there is a misconception of PR being for crisis type situations and that many people are not informed about the potential PR can do for the perception of a company. Only due to my experiences in running a nonprofit and having our first press release created for us, did it really hit home. Due to the press release about a program we hold during spring break by The American Red Cross, did I realize the impact PR can have. It connected with parts of the community that we were not able to with advertising. Although advertising is important too and after this class, I have realized the much needed importance of Public Relations.

  10. Agree. One of the main differences between advertising and PR is paid space verses free coverage. With advertising, the company pays for the ad space and with PR the job is to get free space-from news conferences or press releases. With PR, free media exposure is key. I believe with advertising,consumers know exactly when they are looking at or reading an advertisement because they are trying to be sold to. But with PR, a consumer will be reading a third-party article about the company’s product/service and they take it as though the company didn’t pay for it or had anything to do with it so they take it completely differently than advertising.

  11. Good points, and that is the take home message I have learned from this class. Thank you Jack. This class will pay dividends for me in the future.

  12. Not only is the difference between advertising and public relations earned media, it also differs by the creative aspect within advertising. In advertising, one has the ability to keep his/her creative control when entered into the media. This means that advertisers are able to continuously set the agenda for how the company’s media is delivered and promoted, whereas in public relations, the media has control of the company’s creativity and the way in which a company’s information is presented.
    Advertising also allows creatives to use their creativity to create new ad campaigns unlike public relations, which only allows one to have an eye for media and generate buzz words.
    Public relations do give some opportunity for creativity, but it is limited to strictly news releases and their delivery to the media.
    Below is an additional article that shares more insight in the differences between PR and advertising:

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