Is PR more Effective than Advertising?

A few weeks back, several Nanyang Technological University (NTU) students from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication sought my views on the current situation of Public Relations as part of their academic project under the Media Management module.

Some of the questions posed went like this:

  • - Has there been confusion on the roles of PR and Advertising?
  • - Is Advertising less credible than PR?
  • - Can they be complementary?

Being a PR practitioner, one is naturally biased towards PR as a more effective tool. That is not to say that Advertising has no role. Advertising will always have its place. It is more efficient and quicker to place an advertisement to sell a second hand car or publicise the weekend specials of a supermarket than deploying some PR effort to do so.

When I was the President of the Institute of Public Relations of Singapore in the eighties, I lectured at the Institute’s PR courses. Often, in the introductory lecture, I had to explain the differences between PR and Advertising. As I had shared with the NTU students, here is an updated table of comparisons between PR and Advertising/Branding.

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