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5 reasons why PR is better than Advertising

Updated: May 25, 2020

This one will get people fired up and we love a good debate.

This topic PR Vs Advertising is the communications industry debate that seems to transcend generations of marketing departments and boards - which is better to invest in - PR or advertising? Of course, in many ways advertising and PR complement each other and often go hand in hand in promoting a brand or a campaign in a positive manner, but they work in completely different ways and achieve different goals.

Richard Branson summed it up best when he said, “Publicity is absolutely critical. A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front page ad.”

Here are just a few of the reasons why we at Profiler PR believe that PR can be more effective for your brand than advertising.


Placing an advert can be very expensive, particularly in newspapers, magazines, radios and on TV. Advertising online can be done on a lower budget, but a lower budget will mean fewer impressions. PR is a lot less expensive than advertising and usually achieves coverage that would have cost far more to pay for the equivalent in advertising.


It is fair to say that the public reacts very differently to an advert than it does to a newspaper article or TV report. The reason for this is that we inherently know that an advert is trying to sell us something and it will therefore be perceived with some degree of skepticism. A news story that is communicated through independent, trusted, and unbiased media will be more likely to be perceived as credible and worthy of their attention. Unlike an advert, a good PR story is not about overtly selling a product, but it still often achieves this by creating a positive image about a product or service. Getting news media coverage is not easy, but at Profiler PR we know what news is and we know where your story will best make its mark and how to get it there for maximum publicity.


When you place an advert, you are told exactly how many people will see, hear, or watch it, for example, based on readership or circulation. Most adverts also have a shelf life and once the campaign ends, the adverts disappear forever. PR on the other hand is the gift that keeps on giving. One media release or interview can generate multiple unique media clips across targeted newspapers, magazines, radio and TV stations, networks and shows, online news sites and blogs. These media clips can then also be syndicated (picked up by other media outlets) and reach an even larger audience. PR coverage can usually be found online long after the advert has disappeared. In 2020, smart brands leverage their PR on their social channels which helps extend the life and reach of a story.


Advertising is a form of one-way communication. The purpose of an advert is to pitch a product or service and is usually based on a specific promotional message such as price or the launch of a new product. On the other hand, PR is all about engagement and usually involves a mix of promoting products, services, events, and the overall brand of an organisation through telling a story about the uses and benefits. In today’s digital world, the ability to engage on a range of social media platforms is paramount to remaining relevant and can really help you interact with your audience.

Compelling stories

The public has grown incredibly astute at recognising blatant advertising and has become increasingly passive as well as sometimes passionately aggressive towards it. How many of us now binge watch TV that does not even run adverts (thank you Netflix), or fast-forward through the commercials of a recorded show? Similarly, magazine and newspaper ads can largely go unnoticed, and overly pushy influencer adverts on social media have been shown to put off their fans and followers. A good quality PR story is usually compelling and emotive and engages the audience and spurs conversations.

For more information about how we can help you build a successful PR strategy or assist with a bespoke PR campaign to help you create and leverage exposure in the media, contact us today via

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