For some, the line between a PR campaign and an advertising campaign remains unclear, so we’ve decided to clear things up by demonstrating the differences.

Advertising Campaign

An advertising campaign is ‘paid for’ visibility. Exactly what content will be released is known, when, where, and how. Opting for an advertising campaign is a great way to help us craft perception around our brand as we can ensure that content is on brand message, but this come at a price. Advertising, regardless of the medium, is not cheap! Speaking of which, take a look at our previous article on retargeting on Facebook.

PR campaign

A PR campaign produces earned visibility, usually through a third party. For example, the cab company Uber took advantage of a vast amount of positive and negative news coverage around the brand. This directly impacted the perception of the company, its reputation and its brand story. If influential newspapers speak of us in a positive light, we’ve hit PR campaign jackpot! It is therefore important to build strong relationships with journalists before we roll out a PR campaign, so that we can increase the chances of positive coverage around our brand.

Whereas budget is a factor which largely affects the impact of advertising campaigns, in the case of PR campaigns, relationship building is at forefront in determining the quality of coverage.

PR campaign Vs. Advertising Campaign

Third party endorsement of our brand is a desired result from a PR campaign. The audience are much more likely to accept a message from a third party than when the message comes from the brand itself. As such, audiences find PR campaigns more credible than advertising. In terms of image and reputation, a successfully built PR campaign is the ultimate weapon. Advertising conversely provides opportunities for targeting. An advertising campaign offers reach, whilst a PR campaign offers credibility.

Note that advertising can cause a knock on effect for PR. When celebrities endorse a brand, their appearance tends to generate a wave of interest from publications. Take Romeo Beckham’s appearance in a Burberry advert last November for example. Meltwater’s Media Intelligence platform found that Burberry received 1,774 press mentions in October compared to 2,334 press mentions in November, the month the advert was aired.


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