There is certainly a lot of conversation in this area, but not so much action – this divergence, or integration, of marcoms is seen by some as the future of PR, but for the moment it generally remains the future, not the present.
In a much-dissected speech to the PRCA conference in the autumn, a senior ad man said his industry had "never been more scared of another discipline than we are of PR".
Here are three examples of PR firms eating adland's lunch by producing ads. They are for contrasting clients, but one thing they all have in common is that the PR firms in question were already doing some 'traditional' PR work for these clients, and then took on the advertising work in place of a new ad firm coming in.
Whether or not the trio below seriously heighten adland's alleged fear, it is fair to imagine that more PR firms will be aspiring to emulate these agencies – and for that matter that a number of others have, but without telling PRWeek about it.
Integration is here, and this is what it looks like...
HSE Cake for Barclays Premier League
HSE Cake celebrated the fans in this ad, launched last weekend (9 April), for its client Barclays' sponsorship of the Premier League. It is part of a competition/campaign to find a fan to present the trophy at the end of the season, which will be the last under Barclays' sponsorship.
HSE Cake has been retained by Barclays for sponsorship activation and PR since 2014.
Pegasus for Bayer Animal Health
First shown on 1 February, this campaign for Bayer's flea and worm protection products Drontal and Advantage plays on the social media trend of people recreating childhood photos, this time with the addition of faithful pet, to the soundtrack of a re-recording of Rufus Thomas' 1963 hit Walking the Dog.
Pegasus has worked on a number of PR briefs for Bayer for several years, and creative director Stuart Hehir said the ad "demonstrates what a former traditional PR agency is capable of delivering".
Brands2Life for Quick Books
Showcasing the product at work, this ad by Brands2Life for online accounting software Intuit QuickBooks debuted on 22 January on TV, and the wider campaign has also included radio, online and London Underground activity.
Brands2Life first won the PR and social account for Intuit in 2014, and is now the company's lead creative agency in the UK. Performance media agency MC&C is handling media buying for Intuit.