COMMENT: EDITORIAL; Advertising isn’t the only answer

‘At one time there was a handful of key programmes and key media titles and you knew if you advertised in them you could reach your target market. Now that’s no longer possible.’ It sounds like a PR man’s sales pitch, but in fact it was an adman’s comment after buying 13 spaces in Monday’s Guardian as part of a pounds 2.5 million Mercury campaign.

‘At one time there was a handful of key programmes and key media titles

and you knew if you advertised in them you could reach your target

market. Now that’s no longer possible.’ It sounds like a PR man’s sales

pitch, but in fact it was an adman’s comment after buying 13 spaces in

Monday’s Guardian as part of a pounds 2.5 million Mercury campaign.



‘Unorthodox space buying’ like this is apparently one of the advertising

industry’s ideas for coping with an increasingly diverse and specialised

media. Another idea is the use of ‘shock’ advertising to gain extra

‘free’ media space. It might bring higher visibility, but that’s not

good enough. What about the client’s message?



Advertising is still one of the most powerful marketing tools around.

But it does not have an answer to every problem, and it devalues itself

by claiming that it does. PR cannot replace advertising, but it is

usually better at targeting specialist audiences cost-effectively, and

creating a dialogue with consumers.



Here’s a idea for clients. Just for laughs ask your PR people how they

might spend, say, ten per cent of your current advertising budget. You

might be surprised at the results.



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