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What is the difference between PR and Advertising???

(13 Posts)
SparkleandShine Wed 05-Aug-09 18:02:50

Hope one of you can help - I run a website and it's fair to say we do no promotional activity at all at the moment other than a couple of basics.

We're thinking of all sorts of things from formal adverts in newspapers and magazines through to product placement, competitions and features.

What do we need to hire - an ad agency or a PR agency (or both)?

I'm wary as already have been stung by an ad agency a little while ago for a campaign that didn't really do the trick and am not sure what I should be asking for.

Thanks in advance

PortAndLemon Wed 05-Aug-09 18:15:47

I'd say probably a marketing agency, who sit somewhere in the middle.

thehouseofmirth Wed 05-Aug-09 18:37:22

No need to hire either unless you've got a big budget and/or are going to be buying lots of advertising space. An ad agency can negotiate discounts but in this current climate so could you. You can go to a design agency for your artwork. You can get a freelance PR to put your own scribblings into a format acceptable to send to publications. What kind of web-based business do you have?

SparkleandShine Wed 05-Aug-09 19:29:24

Hello - thanks for the responses - it is jewellery.

lluuccyy Wed 05-Aug-09 22:54:25


I'm not sure whether you wanted an explanation of the differences between advertising, marketing and PR but I thought it might help!

An ad agency will create, design and often place adverts across different media.

Marketing agencies (and some ad agencies) will advise you where exactly the ads should be placed (ie which TV channels, websites, newspapers, magazines, billboards etc) and also place them. Some will also do the creative execution too.

With both of the above you pay to have your exact message placed where you want it in a title of your choice and they will do this for you. They will come up with a whole campaign with the same message running across all media timed to break at the same time.

PR agencies will come up with a news-worthy story (or drip-feed campaign) based on your business and what you are doing at the moment (or through a pre-agreed length of time). They will write and send out press releases and ring-round news desks and journalists they are in contact with. The newspapers/ magazines/ websites may run this story and they may not, they will also have free reign to write what they like about it so you might not get the message you want to say across and it might not be positive.

It is often argued that PR is more effective as it comes across as information and people actually read it and take it in, rather than an advertisement which they can easily ignore. However it can badly backfire if the journalist does not agree with you or sees some negatives in what you are saying. You can also get misquoted and misinterpreted.

My background is journalism and PR and my DP owns an ad agency so we often argue about what is better! Personally, I believe a combination of both is the most effective way to ensure your campaign gets across. It's probably best to spend your money on a good advert and place it in the highest circulation magazines you can afford (see: []) and try and do some PR yourself. I'm happy to offer you some general PR advice if you like.

I hope this might help and I haven't told you what you already know!

Lulu x

Katymac Wed 05-Aug-09 23:00:35

For me (small scale)

Advertising is paying to put a small piece of card in a post office window

PR is having a stand at the village fete & giving away 80(odd) bags of playdough all with my logo on


SparkleandShine Thu 06-Aug-09 07:27:25

lluuccy thankyou very much (and all the other responses too)

I think we probably need marketing and PR on the whole, it all very exciting!

I suppose you get best value from smaller newer firms? but more guaranteed result from the bigger boys? best start looking....

lluuccyy Thu 06-Aug-09 08:18:33

My pleasure, SparkleandShine! Your question was right up my street!

Yes, you're right about the agencies but it also depends what exactly you are after. If you have a (relatively)small budget you will still be a significant client to a smaller agency whereas in my experience the bigger ones can't really be bothered unless you are a major client and you get looked after by the junior staff.

I'm happy to recommend some agencies to you if you like. Where are you based?

Lulu x

SparkleandShine Thu 06-Aug-09 20:49:54

near heathrow.... budget is probably about £2k /month initially...

lluuccyy Thu 06-Aug-09 21:57:04

Hi SparkleandShine,

Can you email me: and I'll email you back some recommendations and contact names? I'm not a paid up member of Mumsnet so I can't PM you! Otherwise I'm happy to post a list of agencies on here but I'd rather not post the contact names!

Lulu x

SparkleandShine Sat 08-Aug-09 07:34:32

have emailed you.... thanks. Have had a random contact from Conde Group.

auntyitaly Mon 28-Sep-09 13:40:52

Hi there - check this fine site out -

We did it at work and I am evangelical.... loads of free advice about marketing and advertising (that previously you had to pay for). You might well find someone to take your firm on, too.

Hope it goes really well.

Airlie Mon 19-Oct-09 11:39:06

Marketing Donut is a great site and would recommend them, find them on Twitter too -

Feel free to email me if you want any advice about the PR side, I've worked with jewellery clients in the past, mainly bridal but the same principals for securing coverage apply and I would happily point you in the right direction.

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