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  January 2003
Welcome to the Brigham Scully Newsletter.  
Have Your Read “The Fall of Advertising and Rise
of PR” by Al Ries & Laura Ries?

The main thrust of this new book is that advertising, as we knew it, is past its “sell-by” date and PR is massively underrated. Today’s major brands are born with publicity, not advertising. In fact, an astonishing number of brands, including Palm, Starbucks, the Body Shop, Wal-Mart, Red Bull and Zara have been built with virtually no advertising at all. We would add to the list our introduction of HID, the dominant name in ID badges. We did only PR for the entire first year and a half.

PR has long been misunderstood. It has the ability to introduce brands and even categories into the mind. It can operate through "trustworthy" channels and register with consumers. An important point is that it is not time-dependent unlike the "fixed" advertising campaigns. It can be allowed to build and grow at its own natural speed.

Of course, advocates of an advertising-led approach to marketing communications will always argue that above-the-line is the most effective way to launch and build brands. The authors claim that this is not, in fact, the case. Advertising is very bad at launching brands and PR should be used first to implant the brand name and benefit into the consumer's mind. Advertising plays a part, a very important part, much later when the brand is established to help maintain it. (Re HID, once known, we poured on the ads.)

The authors argue that while advertising often accounts for the dominant share of the marketing communications budget, this alone does not make it a better communications channel, just a more expensive one. Effectiveness is a major issue. The level of trust in advertising messages is very low.

What credibility does advertising have then? It strengthens the persona of the brand, retaining what one believes about the brand and excludes the mind from entertaining new options.


We’ve felt this for some time. The marketing environment has changed totally in recent years and marketing communications have to evolve fast to reflect this and remain relevant. What is needed is a proper evaluation of the effective roles of different communications channels, not a blind allegiance to a world that once was.

We hope you have found this newsletter to be informative.  If there are others you know that would like to receive this email, please feel free to forward us that information or call us at (818) 716-9021!
Copyright (c) 2003 Brigham Scully