Advertising offers great message control but questionable credibility. PR offers credibility though third party validation, but there are no message guarantees. As an industry we love to look at these separately to compare and contrast, but a better value is looking at how they can work together.
Paid media can earn media. It’s a point that’s stuck with me ever since a professor placed a controversial ad on overlay for an overhead projector long ago.
Larry Flynt, the publisher of Hustler magazine, uses this approach often. My earliest recollection was during the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal where he placed an ad looking for dirt on any Republican.
Flynt is, perhaps, an odd place to find a PR lesson, but I try to keep an eye out for marketing or PR in everything. His scheme got a lot of coverage and he’s since repeated this tactic time and again.
30-second chunks are often interesting and meaningful, so the ads are worth unpacking