Danny Rogers: The day PR outflanked other disciplines

Media agencies muscling in on PR's territory; an advertising shop winning the big PR prize at Cannes; a multi-disciplinary scramble to own the new digital space: this has become the marcoms sector narrative for 2009.

Danny Rogers
Danny Rogers

The PR industry justifiably feels under threat from other disciplines as client organisations demand greater creativity and a better digital dialogue with stakeholders, but at recession-era prices. This is a big opportunity for PR professionals, with the marcoms battleground moving to their home territory.

Equally, one can't blame other disciplines for targeting new spheres of interest and growth, with gusto.

With debate raging about PR's place in the marketing mix, PRWeek decided to conduct an experiment. We came up with a genuinely integrated brief and asked different types of marketing agencies to pitch for the work. We decided the exercise should be genuine and develop into a real campaign if possible. For this reason we chose the NSPCC, because where better to channel innovation and effort than into protecting the nation's children?

You can read the full story on page 20 of this issue and view video interviews with participants on www.prweek.com/uk.

But the top line is that the PR agency - Porter Novelli - triumphed over the media, digital and direct marketing specialists.

'Aha,' you may say, 'that's the result PRWeek wanted!' But I can assure you this was a genuine decision made by a senior client team at the NSPCC, which will now enter negotiations with Porter Novelli to get the campaign off the ground.

The NSPCC said Porter Novelli had shown superior insight into the target audience, had understood the brief better and had originated the biggest idea. This should be encouraging to those PR professionals with a lingering inferiority complex. Porter Novelli has had mixed fortunes over the past 12 months, but threw itself into this brief and developed outstanding work.

Indeed, maybe it's time other disciplines started worrying about their own territories.

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