Monday, July 06, 2009

PR Trumps Advertising at Int’l Ad Festival

In a stunning coup, it was a public relations campaign that won the ad industry’s highest honors — Grand Prix awards in the categories of PR, direct and cyber campaigns — at the annual Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival last month.

This public relations leadership victory at an international advertising awards competition clearly demonstrates the opportunity for client businesses that are willing to commit to social engagement as a core strategy. Social media is all about relationship building with credibility – the technique that has made public relations tick since its inception.

The “Best Job in the World” campaign for Tourism Queensland centered on an AUD$150,000 six-month contract to serve as “caretaker” of a pristine island on the Great Barrier Reef. Also included in the “compensation package”: round-trip tickets and free use of a gorgeous, multi-million-dollar oceanfront villa. The successful candidate would be responsible for reporting his or her experiences to a global audience via weekly blogs, photo diaries, video updates and traditional media. This is public relations, not traditional advertising.

"The way the world is heading is voluntary engagement," said David Lubars, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of BBDO North America and head of the Cannes Film and Press Juries in a recent interview in Advertising Age. "The work has to be a magnet."

This event may mark the death of the solo ad campaign (without other techniques), where the same messages are shouted over and over to your stakeholders. You have to attract, engage and dialogue with them. This is something public relations has been doing — and doing well — for a very, very long time.

I predict that with the decline of traditional ad venues (and especially, newspapers), smart marketers will increasingly be turning to public relations as the dominant technique to build brand and demand.

Technorati Tags: Makovsky + Company, Grand Prix awards,Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, The Best Job in the World, Tourism Queensland, David Lubars, BBDO North America , Advertising Age, business, communications, public relations


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