Book Report: The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR

Topics: Advertising, Communication design, Brand Pages: 6 (2407 words) Published: April 3, 2013
“The Fall of Advertising & The Rise of PR”: Book Report The Fall of Advertising & the Rise of PR by Al and Laura Ries demonstrates the dramatic shift from traditional advertising-oriented marketing to public-relations-oriented marketing. The age of advertising, they claim, is in the past. Advertising was once considered an effective way to encourage consumers to purchase new products, however, that is no longer the case. Advertising has not only become rampant, but it lacks credibility and is too expensive, thus being ineffective for the introduction of new brands. It would be inaccurate to claim that advertising serves no function, because it does, just no longer a dominant one. Public Relations, on the other hand, allows one to tell their story indirectly through third-party outlets, primarily the media. It has been shown to be the most effective way to truly and successfully launch a new brand. Advertising is dead. Long live PR. The book opens with the results of a survey regarding public perception of honesty. Consumer mistrust in advertisers came as no surprise, as they ranked them between insurance salesmen and car salesmen (Ries 3). So, if you don’t believe what a car salesman tells you, why would you believe what you see in an advertisement? You wouldn’t. Both sources have the same degree of credibility. None. Advertising is taken exactly for what it is – a biased message paid for by a corporation with a selfish interest in what the consumer consumes (Ries 5). It doesn’t matter how creative or original an ad is, advertisements inherently lack credibility. This can be attributed to the fact that advertising considered to be the self-serving voice of a company anxious to make a sale. Consumers don’t trust corporations and often reject ad messages. Then again, a brand that no one has heard of has no credibility either, “they can’t be any good if I’ve never heard of them,” is the attitude of many consumers upon being introduced to new, unfamiliar brands. PR solves both problems. PR has credibility because the messages come from an unbiased source. As consumers, you expect the media to tell you about things unfamiliar to you, that’s what news is all about (Ries 45). With PR, a company has no control over content, timing, or visual appearance of messages. Brands can’t even be sure that any of their messages will be delivered. But despite these setbacks, there exists one advantage of PR that makes up for all of its disadvantages – PR has credibility, advertising does not (Ries 85). The Ries’ present the four essentials of a good PR campaign. First and foremost, they note the importance of “the slow build-up,” in which the buzz slowly grows concerning a new product. In the case of Segway Scooter, for example, a steady stream of media leaked information about the up and coming product, which sparked an interest and excited the public (Ries 100). The second essential is a new category. Let’s consider Starbucks. Even before the company gave way, there is no doubt that there were plenty of cafés in the surrounding Seattle area serving quality coffee, however, Starbucks was the first to seek out publicity. Another example would be Papa John’s, a company that launched itself as a gourmet pizza chain, a new category. Next, the Ries’ suggest how crucial it is to have a new brand name. The authors discuss in depth the dangers of trying to extend your brand to cover new products, or line-extension. They noted that it makes much more sense to have a brand mean something tangible to a consumer, such as toothpaste for Crest, rather for a brand to mean many things, such as Crest White strips too. It is in the best interest of a brand to represent one product strongly, then several weakly. The final essential of a good PR campaign is having a credentialed spokesperson that is charismatic, persuasive, and trustworthy. Many of those functioning as spokespersons are corporate CEO’s. Returning back to the Segway example, its...
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