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101: Advertising vs. PR

Brands are like people. From toilet paper to automobiles, each brand carries a unique personna/voice, and identifying it is the first step towards strategic marketing as mentioned in our previous post. Now, let's examine two means for promoting your voice to the world-- advertising, and public relations.

In brief, advertising is paid-for-promotion, where as "PR" is aquired and therefore not. Media outlets include: TV, Print, Radio, Newspaper and Celebrities. Advertising is about outright buying your space into these medias which can cost from a few dollars to millions of dollars. A single page ad in Elle Magazine, for example, easily runs over $50K! PR is about connecting your brand into the very content itself, so for example when an editor is discussing her top five lipsticks for Spring, having your product featured was a result of introducing your brand to the editor in charge of her content.

With today's market oversaturated of advertisements and susceptibility around ad claims, the marginal returns against the costs of advertising are low. On the flip side, PR is about achieving unlimited coverage your brand by promoting its "news-worthiness" to a PR agency's rolodex of credible content providers including: editors, journalists, stylists, celebrities, and producers. And with the significance of social media today, and consumers as content providers, you'll want to consider an agency with assets in digital communications and consumer outreach.

Dress/Qode ™ is a top global digital growth & communications agency based in New York, Mexico, Toronto, and Paris. We turn conversation into conversion across all touch-points through what we call PR 3.0. To learn more visit or contact us at

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