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.


What I hope to learn from CAP 105

Hello, MTV, my name is Madison, and welcome to my crib!

All jokes aside, this is my first post on my course blog for Technology in Advertising and Public Relations, AKA CAP 105. For my first post, I have been tasked to discuss what I am looking forward to learning about in class in the upcoming semester. I recently declared APR (PR emphasis) as my second major, so I am, for the most part, unfamiliar with the concepts we will learn in this class. However, I do have experience with some of the technological aspects we will learn about, and so I am very excited to both learn new things and brush up and improve upon existing knowledge.

I have extensive experience with social media for my own personal use (I’m just as addicted to Twitter and Instagram as the stereotypical millennial- no shame in my game). However, I am very excited to expand upon my knowledge of social media and learn how to use it in a professional setting. I think this knowledge will make me more marketable professionally and could, perhaps, even improve my own personal use of social media (because I’m always looking to get more likes). Additionally, there are some platforms we will use that I have never used before, particularly WordPress, that I am very excited to play with. I have messed around with WordPress before, and I have always had an interest in blogging, and I’m hoping this course will be the push I need to take a leap into the world of blogging. I am curious about expanding this blog into my own personal blog after the course is over, so I am looking forward to learning more about WordPress and seeing where I go from there.

I am also excited to refamiliarize myself with platforms I have had experience with in the past. I was very active in journalism in high school, holding an editor-in-chief position on my school newsmagazine and also participating on the yearbook staff, so I have had a good amount of experience with some of the programs in the Adobe Suite, most extensively in Indesign and Photoshop, with a small amount of experience in Illustrator as well. However, I abandoned my love for journalism once I got to college, so I haven’t been able to use those programs in a while. Recently, I found myself missing having a creative outlet, which journalism provided me. While I loved political science, I found myself feeling that my ability to be creative was being wasted on a major which can sometimes feel like the antithesis of creativity. Therefore, I added APR as my second major in order to explore my previously neglected creative side. I one day hope to work as a lobbyist or a political consultant, which I feel is a good blend of the two fields I am interested in. I am definitely looking forward to my future, as evidenced by the following tweet:

I am looking forward to learning many new topics in this class, because I feel that I will gain many important skills that I can use for internships this summer and beyond, as well as future careers, while also allowing me to explore my creative side and get back in touch with some of my old interests.

Photo from