Philip Kotler was right when he advised the Marketing Forum that PR-led strategies are often more effective than advertising.
In fact, any new product that is truly excellent, different or brand defining – Viagra, or Red Bull for example – should be launched with PR rather than advertising.
PR has far greater credibility among consumers and, while it may require more time and creativity than advertising, in the long run it can be much more effective in supporting a company’s business objectives. The real need for advertising lies with the many rather average companies and brands that fear being put under a media microscope and crave the control of messages that advertising gives.
However, such companies should also be advised that nothing kills a poor product as quickly as advertising – witness New Pepsi. Indeed maybe the best advice, as Kotler has said before, would be to assess whether the money being spent on advertising would be more effective if used to create a better product. This way you will have a product that will stand up to the media scrutiny that good PR demands.