Being a PR junkie, I must confess, when it comes to advertising, I’m a little biased. I see advertising as a tactic that is part of an overall campaign for a product, brand, or service. Advertising is not bad if it does not become intrusive. However, some make disgusting advertising, you do not want to look at it.
To me PR is more effective because it is based on storytelling. A story that your clients can relate to, causes behavioral change, captivates their attention and makes them feel good about their purchase. It’s an emotional stimulant that makes consumers want to learn more about your product.
Did you know that consumers see between 3,000 and 20,000 marketing messages alone every day? It’s impossible for our brains to contemplate even half that amount.
Look at Times Square for example, which is probably the densest concentration of advertising on the planet. It’s reported that if you count every cab, bus, billboard, light pole, building, sandwich board, and flyer you come up with no less than 500 messages. That is complete sensory overload for one intersection. How can you as a company get your message across with so much competition?
Consider for a moment three campaigns that have captured the attention of viewers and have caused a stir.
1) Dawn: It’s an oldie but a goodie, but their message is simple: Dawn Saves Wildlife. Photos of animals drenched in oil from environmental disasters with volunteers soaping off this lethal substance, stirs emotions and causes people to stop in the grocery isle to consider how they too can contribute to environmental sustainability.
2) Coke: Their new commercial is engaging because it shows the beauty, humor and humanity of life. It too is a simple premise. Show emotionally charged and loving moments caught on camera to prove that there is still love in the air. The commercial is not about the product. It’s about engaging the public to remind them that life is good.
3) Island off the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland Board of Tourism: Talk about an attention grabber. Imagine sipping your coffee and reading the “careers” section, only to find an ad to spend 6-months cleaning the pool, feeding the fish, collecting the mail and exploring a little-known island off the Great Barrier Reef for a salary of $150,000. Obviously, it was an immediate success. Through an extraordinary PR campaign and a clever use of social media, the Board received over 7 million visitors, 34,000 applicants from 200 countries and 500,00 votes for this once-in-a-lifetime job. The only advertising used was an ad in the classified section of a newspaper. Genius if you ask me.