Cover image for The fall of advertising and the rise of PR
The fall of advertising and the rise of PR
Ries, Al.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : HarperBusiness, [2002]

Physical Description:
xxi, 295 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
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HF5823 .R642 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Bestselling authors and world-renowned marketing strategists Al and Laura Ries usher in the new era of public relations.

Today's major brands are born with publicity, not advertising. A closer look at the history of the most successful modern brands shows this to be true. In fact, an astonishing number of brands, including Palm, Starbucks, the Body Shop, Wal-Mart, Red Bull and Zara have been built with virtually no advertising.

Using in-depth case histories of successful PR campaigns coupled with those of unsuccessful advertising campaigns, The Fall of Advertising provides valuable ideas for marketers -- all the while demonstrating why

advertising lacks credibility, the crucial ingredient in brand building, and how only PR can supply that credibility; the big bang approach advocated by advertising people should be abandoned in favor of a slow build-up by PR; advertising should only be used to maintain brands once they have been established through publicity.

Bold and accessible, The Fall of Advertising is bound to turn the world of marketing upside down.

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Marketing guru Ries and his consulting partner set out to convince us of the need for a shift from advertising-oriented marketing to public relations-oriented marketing. While advertising has long been the primary communication tool for reaching the consumer and is the focus of many corporate budgets, the authors recommend that any new marketing program should start with publicity and use advertising only when PR objectives have been achieved. The first three parts of the book trace the fall of advertising, the rise of PR, and the new role for advertising; part four outlines the differences between advertising and PR; and the final section offers advice on both approaches to the marketplace. This is a persuasive presentation by a respected marketing expert. Those who take issue with the Ries' arguments will compete with them in the consulting arena and perhaps write a book offering different views. --Mary Whaley

Publisher's Weekly Review

Marketing strategists Ries and Ries spend all 320 pages of their latest book arguing one point: skillful public relations is what sells, not advertising. Case in point: the failure of's sock puppet ads. However, in a chapter devoted to dot-com advertising excesses, the authors never mention that many dot-coms had miserable business plans and neophyte management. (The Rieses may be counting on the sock puppet to sell another commodity, as a deflated sock puppet dominates the book's jacket.) Today, most small companies aren't bloated with venture capital to buy TV ads, yet the book has little practical advice on how these companies' executives should use public relations, particularly PR's most important role: crisis control. Some readers might resent paying $24.95 for what amounts to an advertisement for pricey PR consulting firms like Ries & Ries. The authors frequently poke fun at the most outrageous TV ads of recent years, paralleling Sergio Zyman's The End of Advertising As We Know It (reviewed above), a more thoughtful critique of current advertising trends. The inherent flaw in the Rieses' logic: time and again they cite ad campaigns for new products that are "off message" and then say how much sales declined; this supports the notion that products and services are sold by good advertising. Although their book is occasionally entertaining, the argument is simplistic and self-serving. Illus. (Sept. 1) Forecast: Those who work in publicity or PR will enjoy hearing about how important their jobs are, but ad execs will find the constant criticisms of their field grating. Harper Business certainly doesn't seem to have taken the Rieses' message to heart; a cornerstone of the book's marketing campaign is print advertising in Advertising Age, Adweek and Brandweek. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

The father-and-daughter authors who previously collaborated on The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding here attempt to explain the difference between advertising and public relations, arguing that PR should be used instead of advertising to launch new brands. Once a brand is established, advertising may then be used to maintain the brand in the consumer's mind. The book is arranged in four chapters, with the first chapter describing the "fall of advertising" and offering examples of failed campaigns such as those for New Coke and Subsequent chapters describe the rise of PR and its effective use by brands like Sony PlayStation and Red Bull, tout the new role advertising can play in maintaining brands, and attempt to finally differentiate between advertising and PR. Throughout, the authors' mantra is "advertising failed, PR would have worked," but they never fully explain how and why PR would have been more successful for the companies and the brands used as examples. An optional purchase for corporate and academic libraries. Stacey Marien, American Univ. Lib., Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Promotion has been developed and refined through the 20th century as technology, competition, and customer expectations have evolved. In thousands of marketing classes, advertising has been described as the mainstay of promotion for most consumer products. This book, however, argues that the power of advertising is waning, and that those who rely on billions of dollars on advertising to promote products are being let down. Conversely, the authors, both marketing professionals and authors, provide dozens of examples in support of their claim that public relations management is either replacing or augmenting the weakening role of advertising. Accordingly, companies seeking ways to effectively increase their sales must shift their efforts from advertising to public relations (PR), which the authors note is a long-term effort. Unlike advertising, which they liken to a "big bang," PR requires corporate management to develop a systematic and controlled image through a slow buildup of media coverage. This book is an interesting though not definitive argument against the overwhelming use of advertising. The authors provide numerous examples of companies and products that have lost market share despite intense advertising and describe successful techniques used by PR professionals. However, those looking for clear promotional guidance will need to hire the authors themselves. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Practitioner collections only. T. J. Belich Hamline University



The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR Chapter One Advertising and Car Salesmen Not long ago, four New York City nurses were killed when they drove off the top of a motel's five-story parking garage. The story made all of the New York papers, including the front page of the New York Post . Sixteen hundred mourners attended the funeral at St. Patrick's Cathedral, and one of the speakers was Mayor Giuliani. Typical newspaper headline: "Angels Take Wing As 1,600 Say Goodbye." Nurses are nurses. Advertising executives are advertising executives and are not likely to get the same reception -- in life or in death. If four advertising executives had died driving off the Brooklyn Bridge after a three-martini lunch, the media would have treated the story quite differently. "Hucksters Go to Hell in a Honda." Face reality. In a recent Gallup poll on the honesty and ethics of people in thirty-two different professions, advertising and advertising practitioners ranked near the bottom, right between insurance salesmen and car salesmen. (Shown at left is an abbreviated list with the percentage of respondents who felt people of each profession were honest.) If you don't believe what an insurance or a car salesman tells you, why would you believe what you read in an advertisement? Both sources have the same degree of credibility. Not only does advertising have an external problem with the public, but it also has an internal problem. Advertising's Problem Inside the Corporation "What strategy does your advertising agency suggest?" we recently asked the CEO of a large client. "We never ask our agency what to do," he replied. "We tell them." The advertising era is over. Today clients seldom trust their ad agencies to help them make all-important strategic decisions. What used to be a marketing partnership has degenerated into a client/vendor relationship. (A Patrick Marketing Group study of senior marketing executives found that only 3 percent of those interviewed claimed to have delegated the responsibility for establishing their brand identities to their advertising agencies.) A recent survey of eighteen hundred business executives by the American Advertising Federation (AAF) shows that public relations is more highly regarded than advertising. The executives were asked which departments were most important to their company's success. Here are the results: Product development -- 29 percent Strategic planning -- 27 percent Public relations -- 16 percent Research & development -- 14 percent Financial strategies -- 14 percent Advertising -- 10 percent Legal -- 3 percent Only the legal department ranked lower than advertising in the AAF survey. Advertising might account for a substantial share of a company's budget, but in the eyes of management its stature has been seriously eroded. So what did the AAF do to counter the low score the advertising department received? They did what many companies do when they find themselves in trouble. They launched an advertising campaign to improve advertising's perception in the business community. Theme: "Advertising. The way great brands get to be great brands." But if you believe that product development, strategic planning, public relations, research and development, and financial strategies are more important than advertising to a company's success (and that is what the survey shows), then why would you believe an advertisement that boldly states, "Advertising is the way great brands get to be great brands"? It's a classic case of cognitive dissonance. You can't hold advertising in low esteem and also believe an ad that says advertising builds great brands. Except, of course, if you don't believe that great brands are important. Which would mean that the American Advertising Federation now has two problems: advertising and brands. The weakest link in any advertising program is its credibility. An advertising message has little believability with the average person. Advertising is taken for what it is -- a biased message paid for by a company with a selfish interest in what the consumer consumes. Advertising's Golden Era It wasn't always so. After World War II, advertising was the rising star in corporate America. At Procter & Gamble, Hershey's, Coca-Cola, Campbell's, and many other consumer goods companies, it was the advertising people that ruled the roost. In Hollywood, they even made movies where advertising people were the heroes. The Hucksters , starring Clark Gable and Deborah Kerr, was a notable example. Also, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit starring Gregory Peck. (People assumed that anyone who wore a gray flannel suit was in the advertising business, but Peck actually played the role of a PR person.) Helped by the introduction of television after World War II, advertising volume exploded. By 1972, the annual per capita expenditure on advertising was $110. Today, the comparable number is $865. Truly we live in an overcommunicated society and it's not getting any quieter. (Adjusted for the effect of inflation, the 1972 figure would have been $465.) What happens when the volume of almost anything begins to soar out of sight? Volume Up, Effectiveness Down The rise of advertising volume coincided with a decline in advertising effectiveness. Every advertising effectiveness study shows the same results. The more advertising in a given medium, the less effective each individual advertisement is. An advertisement in a thin magazine will generally be seen and read by more people than an advertisement in a thick issue of the same publication. A commercial on a television show with few commercials will generally be noticed by more people than a commercial on a TV show with many commercials. Not only has advertising volume risen, but advertising costs have risen even faster. In 1972, for example, the price of a thirty-second Super Bowl commercial was $86,000 and it reached 56,640,000 people. Cost per thousand: $1.52. Last year a thirty-second Super Bowl commercial cost $2, 100,000 and reached 88,465,000 people. Cost per thousand: $23.74 or nearly 16 times as much. (To be fair, if you figure in inflation, the cost today is 3.7 times as much. On the other hand, a 270 percent increase in three decades is a big increase indeed.) In addition to the media cost, there's also the cost of production which is not cheap either. According to the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the average cost to produce a thirty-second TV commercial is currently $343,000. Some categories are even more expensive. The average production cost of a thirty-second soft drink or snack commercial is $530,000. For apparel and clothing the average cost jumps to $1,053,000. The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR . Copyright © by Al Ries. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Fall of Advertis and Rise of Pr by Al Ries, Laura Ries All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. xi
Part 1 The Fall of Advertising
1. Advertising and Car Salesmenp. 3
2. Advertising and Artp. 15
3. Advertising and Creativityp. 23
4. Advertising and Awardsp. 33
5. Advertising and Awarenessp. 43
6. Advertising and Salesp. 49
7. Advertising and the Dotcomsp. 61
8. Advertising and Credibilityp. 73
9. The Search for Alternativesp. 81
Part 2 The Rise of PR
10. The Power of a Third Partyp. 89
11. Building a New Brand with PRp. 97
12. Rebuilding an Old Brand with PRp. 119
13. Establishing Your Credentialsp. 127
14. Rolling Out Your Brandp. 133
15. Building an Educational Brandp. 143
16. Building a Geographic Brandp. 149
17. Building a Booze Brandp. 157
18. The Missing Ingredientp. 163
19. Dealing with Line Extensionsp. 171
20. Dealing with Namesp. 183
Part 3 A New Role for Advertising
21. Maintaining the Brandp. 197
22. Keeping On Coursep. 211
23. Firing On All Cylindersp. 223
Part 4 The Differences Between Advertising and PR
1. Advertising Is the Wind. PR Is the Sunp. 239
2. Advertising Is Spatial. PR Is Linearp. 241
3. Advertising Uses the Big Bang. PR Uses the Slow Buildupp. 243
4. Advertising Is Visual. PR Is Verbalp. 245
5. Advertising Reaches Everybody. PR Reaches Somebodyp. 247
6. Advertising Is Self-Directed. PR Is Other-Directedp. 249
7. Advertising Dies. PR Livesp. 251
8. Advertising Is Expensive. PR Is Inexpensivep. 253
9. Advertising Favors Line Extensions. PR Favors New Brandsp. 255
10. Advertising Likes Old Names. PR Likes New Namesp. 257
11. Advertising Is Funny. PR Is Seriousp. 259
12. Advertising Is Uncreative. PR Is Creativep. 261
13. Advertising Is Incredible. PR Is Crediblep. 263
14. Advertising Is Brand Maintenance. PR Is Brand Buildingp. 265
Part 5 Postscripts
P.S. for Managementp. 269
P.S. for Advertisingp. 273
P.S. for PRp. 277
Indexp. 281