I was initially excited by a PR Week article, “The Battle Between PR and Ad Agencies Heats Up!” I thought I’d be reading about the social media land grab taking place right now. Not so.
The article was a rant about ad agencies’ stealing business away from independent PR through the first-tier PR firms they had bought over the years. Next article? How PR still struggles to get on CMOs’ radar. Really?!
I read this and wondered why people still whine about an old battle, already decided a decade ago. (Advertisers won that one, by the way.) Going after PR firms owned by WPP, Omnicom, Publicis, or IPG to defend your PR dollars is not just the wrong battle to fight, but, advertiser-owned or not, all PR firms are on the same side of the media war.
Instead of fighting off advertisers to keep their budgets, for the first time PR firms can now compete for advertising dollars!
Social media is the battleground
A senior executive at a top ad agency told me just a few months ago, “When I meet with a CMO for an hour, do you think I sell them a $15M ad campaign or $200k in social media?” This is still today’s reality in an ad agency.