Collaboration between PR and advertising is a win-win: Shima

Creative director Koichiro Shima of Hakuhodo Kettle was hunkered down for two full days flat last week evaluating 247 PR awards entries at the Spikes Asia festival of creativity in Singapore. He told PRWeek the secret behind the exceptional performance of the Japanese entries this year is the tradition of close collaboration between PR and advertising

Collaboration between PR and advertising is a win-win: Shima

What stood out among all the many entries that you reviewed at Spikes?

The important thing with PR is to craft a story or consensus. One thing that struck me during the judging process was how further advances in the integration of design and technology have strengthened communication. There were lots of video-centered entries owing to the increase in devices capable of transmitting video compared to the old days. When doing PR it’s important to have facts, and the most striking entries let you share in a tangible experience while incorporating footage. Unlike advertising, PR is most forceful when you produce viral movies rooted in fact.

There has been a spike (pardon the pun) in the number of PR entries this year at Spikes. Would it be fair to conclude then that the PR industry is finally turning itself aroung in Asia?

In the age of social media, the opinion of third-person is gaining in importance. And because companies now recognize that simultaneous exposure to PR and ads is more effective, it’s becoming easier for PR firms to join integrated campaigns in more arenas. As Cannes symbolizes, advertising is evolving into communications, where PR people, advertising professionals, and the latest technology are all mashed up. Collaboration between PR and advertising will doubtless accelerate as companies come to realise the power of integrated communications. The PR category is, I think, the category with the greatest potential for corporate communications.

You have been in the industry long enough to know what real good quality PR work? Did the entries this year cut it?

If advertising is a means of conveying a message, PR is the process of building a consensus and changing behavior by bringing a new conception to the public. You need to stay involved until you’ve changed people’s lives. I’m dubious whether many of this year’s entries really went so far as to change behavior. The ability of PR people to craft a story is being put to the test.

Japan appears to have impressed the Spikes PR award jury. What is the secret of its success?

In Japan advertising and PR are closely related. Historically the PR industry has appeared to lack independence, being subsumed under the advertising agencies; but as a result the two have succeeded in building a win-win relationship in the age of integration. The existence of this favorable environment presumably accounts for the large number of awards going to Japanese creations.

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