The relationship between advertising, public relations and journalism

As someone who has had experience with coursework in advertising, PR and journalism (along with many other things, as I’ve changed my major approximately 500,000 times), I am able to recognize the relationship between all three fields. While there are many differences between the fields, advertising, PR and journalism are all inextricably linked.

I believe this article from Forbes hit the nail on the head when they said that “advertising is what you pay for, publicity is what you pray for.” While advertising and PR are similar because they both influence public perception of the brand, there are some key differences in their execution.  Companies pay for advertising in order to promote themselves, and PR professionals attempt to convince third parties to promote them.

Often, these third parties that PR professionals seek coverage from are journalists. Journalists and PR pros have a symbiotic relationship; journalists receive ideas for content from public relations professionals, and in return, PR professionals get coverage of their brands. Both advertisers and PR pros build a brand image, and journalists are the messengers which report the results of this imaging to the public.

Advertising, PR and journalism interact constantly, and companies must understand how they interact in order to maximize the success of their advertising and PR campaigns. This blog from Trendkite describes how PR and advertising must work together quite well. Advertisers and marketers create messages with their work. PR can serve as a sort of megaphone to a company’s advertising efforts, by supporting and promoting the work of the advertisers while grooming the public to make them more receptive to their messages. Finally, journalists receive ideas for content from PR pros about these messages that have been related and write about them.

A recent example that I identified that showed the interaction between advertising, public relations and journalism is the release of a new product from Taco Bell, the Naked Chicken Chalupa. While I am a vegetarian, and thus find the idea of a taco with a shell made of fried chicken disturbing, I do have something of a weakness for Taco Bell, and an appreciation for the work of their advertising and PR teams. Through the connections between advertising, PR and journalists, Taco Bell was able to generate a significant amount of publicity for their new product.

Taco Bell began their efforts by putting outadvertisements for the Naked Chicken Chalupa, such as these two TV spots. In order to amplify the work that the advertisements were doing, Taco Bell’s PR pros blog and post about the Naked Chicken Chalupa on their social media outlets. Because Taco Bell has had a funny and engaging online presence before the release of this product, they have created a more positive attitude towards the brand and increased their social media following, meaning that these messages about the Naked Chicken Chalupa are reaching many people. Finally, their PR pros worked with journalists in order to get them to cover/review the product and thus generate more publicity for it. Some examples include this article from Business Insider and this one from The Washington Post. The relationship between PR and journalism is made very clear in the Business Insider article, which states that Taco Bell provided them the opportunity to try the Naked Chicken Chalupa before it was released. Clearly, they did this in the hopes that the Business Insider writers would cover the product positively.

As a result of Taco Bell’s advertising and PR work, the Naked Chicken Chalupa has received quite a bit of coverage, which, to my knowledge, has generally been positive. Whether the product tastes good enough (or is simply bizarre enough) to generate this amount of coverage by itself is unknown; however, with the manipulation of the relationship between advertising, PR and journalism, Taco Bell has managed to create a national conversation about their product. Other companies can, and should, follow their example.


Ad/PR technology trends to watch in 2017

Every year, technology evolves, and what was once new and trendy becomes outdated. In the past year, we have seen platforms like Vine fall, existing platforms like Snapchat become bigger than ever, and countless new methods of communication arrive onto the scene.

Although it is only one month into 2017, there are several technology trends that I believe are worth following in the new year. While the success of these platforms remains to be seen, I believe that these have the potential to be game-changers in 2017.

Anchor/audio-sharing: According to Mashable, when the app Anchor was previewed at South by Southwest (SXSW) in 2016, the possibility of a new method of communication was born. According to their website, Anchor is “radio by the people, where any voice can join the conversation.” Using Anchor, you record short audio clips called “waves,” that others can like, “echo,” a function similar to Twitter’s retweet, or reply to with a wave of their own. Anchor is a fresh take on the somewhat old concept of podcasting, that I believe can be used by PR professionals in order to diversify their social media presence.

I downloaded Anchor and played with it myself, and I found the process of creating waves fun and very simple. I think this unique social media platform definitely has a lot of potential for future use. The link to my profile is available here, and is accessible through mobile devices with the Anchor app downloaded. While Anchor is the most notable audio-sharing app, in my opinion, I think that other, similar platforms may arise out of this potential trend.


Live video streaming: While this is a trend that took off in 2016, I believe that it will continue to grow into the upcoming year. With video streaming platforms like Periscope, which is integrated with Twitter, as well as social media giants like Facebook and Instagram getting involved, I think live video streaming is a tool that has many possibilities for use in the fields of advertising and public relations.  Online streaming services can be used to produce content for businesses, firms, etc. that are looking for creative engagement methods. Additionally, as other platforms, or creators of new platforms, note the explosive success of live video streaming, I believe that the use of this tool will only increase in the upcoming year. According to Business Insider,  88% of ad agencies they interviewed expressed interest in using live video in the upcoming months. With numbers like that, there is no doubt that the use of live video will continue well into 2017.


Influencer marketing through social media: I have been a spectator of the online beauty/cosmetics community since 2012. Until recently, their influence has been mostly through YouTube. However, this year I have noticed an influx of beauty gurus (now often referred to as “beauty influencers”) on other social media outlets such as Instagram or Snapchat. Outside of the beauty community, celebrities, bloggers, or even just a layman with an above average amount of followers promote goods on their social media. I believe this trend will continue expanding into 2017, and it is something companies should take note of when formulating their advertising plans.

What influencer marketing offers that is unique is the sense of trust between the influencer and their followers; if there is a perceived relationship between the social media personality and those who follow them, their followers will be trusting of their recommendations and thus more likely to buy those products. Personally, if I see a favorite beauty influencer of mine recommend a makeup product, I become more likely to buy the product myself because I trust their recommendations.

From celebrities like the Kardashians, to girls I went to high school with, I see influencer marketing on my Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat feeds constantly. I see this trend continuing as more people get involved with influencer marketing, companies realize its benefits, and as new platforms emerge for influencers to use.


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