We enjoyed reading these comments on the value of publicity by colorful Jerry Della Femina, then chairman, CEO and creative director of Jerry & Ketchum, Inc. They are taken from an article in Tactics, a Public Relations Society of America publication.
“If you want to run an ad, it costs money. People look at ads and see the box around it and know they are being sold something. With PR you don’t know whether you’re being sold something or not. You’re reading it as a news story. Your mind is set up in a totally different way. You’re reading something that’s of interest to you.
“And basically, since the reporter calls you, he doesn’t say, ‘That’s going to cost you $2,000 for this quote.’ It’s free. It really is free. So you can reach many more people through PR than with your ads. And you can reach them in a much better setting. Basically, when a story runs you don’t get a bill. You may get a bill for the services of the PR person, but that’s just the services; it’s not what you’re really getting. What you’re getting is something that’s free.
“There are very few companies that are PR savvy. They may have a PR person in their ranks but usually that person is not in a powerful enough position that he or she can get the corporation to understand PR.
“Think of how little money giant corporations spend on PR. They’ll spend $40 million on advertising and a million or less on PR. When you look at that you wonder what the results would be if they spent $40 million on PR. Advertising can control the story. PR really can’t. You’ve got to believe the press is going to do what they want. They’re not going to print press releases.
“Given that, the corporation should take the chance and say we can’t control the story but it comes in a much nicer package if people really believe that they’re reading about us because a reporter was interested in us versus their reading about us because we ran an ad.”