Wednesday, February 02, 2005

PR versus Advertising

Last week I was whining to my friend in advertising about how all of the public relations industry is taking a hit both in the media and in the blogosphere thanks to one big name agency paying off conservative pundits.

My friend, let’s call him “Darren Stevens,” says to me, “It doesn’t matter. PR is dead anyway.”

Instead of throttling him, I launch into a spirited defense: “PR is necessary! It builds brands through independent, third party credentialing. While advertising merely reinforces a brand.”

To which Darren retorts, "Yeah, I also read The Fall of Advertising; The Rise of PR. So bow down to your failing industry, if you want, bow to her. Bow to the Queen of Slime, the Queen of Filth, the Queen of Putrescence. Boo! Boo!”

Explanation: Friend Darren has an unnatural affinity for the movie, The Princess Bride.

“Seriously,” says me, “You think advertising is better, more effective? Take this Ketchum thing as a case study. You honestly believe that advertising—over PR—can revive the reputation of public relations?”

“I’ll bet you a $100 that I can do measurably more with an ad than you can do with standard PR.”

“Level playing field? No budget? And all online?”

“It’s a bet!”

We were planning to both launch our campaigns on Thursday, tallying our results the first week in March.

However, the bet is now off. Darren showed me his intended campaign about an hour ago. Now I’m really mad at him and I don’t think we can even be friends anymore.

I don’t know if he didn’t take our bet seriously, or if this is an intentional slap in the face. I just sent him an angry email and he responded with more quotes from The Princess Bride: “You fell victim to one of the classic blunders, the most famous of which is ‘Never get involved in a land war in the Middle East’, but only slightly less well known is this: ‘Never go in against a Sicilian, when death is on the line.’"

Moron. Advertising moron. The character you’re inappropriately quoting delivers this line then falls over dead.

So I'm more than a little mad. And I'm going ahead with my campaign. More later....

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