(Paid Vs. Earned Media by David Armano)

Highly recommended if you’re into such things are both Richard Laermer’s post on confusing public relations and advertising and David Armano’s Paid Media Vs. Earned Media thinking.

I’m not going to get into a debate about which is better, PR or advertising. They both serve their own purpose and, done well, can achieve the desired goals. But PR is in the unique position to be able to support an advertising effort in a way that advertising can’t truly support a PR campaign.

I alluded in my MMM: Fanboys column that part of the reason the campaign felt so half-hearted is that there wasn’t a big PR push behind it, something that really carried the urgency to see the movie to the public in a way that advertising can’t. Instead there were a smattering of interviews but no concerted effort to get the movie some publicity, something that’s the objective of a PR team.

Likewise this year’s Super Bowl ad buzz didn’t really kick in, as Tom points out, until about three days before the game. In previous years there were single spots that received full NYT stories about their creation and some companies even leaked teasers of highly-anticipated commercials to the online press.

I know because I was one of those doing the pitching of those spots for a couple companies in 2007 and 2008.

Both public relations and advertising are essential tools in the marketing mix. But PR is necessary to support advertising and make sure people are aware of it. It’s a problem I run into all the time here on MMM. A studio might have bought millions of dollars in advertising for a movie but because 1)I didn’t happen across it on TV or online, 2)There wasn’t a press story about it or 3) Nobody called to tell me about it I didn’t include it in the marketing review of that movie. That’s a failure.

98 percent of the point of advertising is to change/reinforce consumer behavior. (The remaining 2 percent is for the creator to make him/herself laugh.) But by putting PR people behind that advertising and making sure key influencers in your market are aware of it you can exponentially increase its effectiveness at a fraction of the cost of additional media buying dollars.