PR vs Advertising – a retrospective look from Matt Box, S&P Ogilvy PR
The Cannes Lions have included PR since 2009, but to date no PR agency has walked away with the title. Judges have often cited that they find PR entries ‘too tactical’ or ‘lacking big ideas’. Those golden felines normally find themselves in the hands of the big integrated campaigns that cultivate media attention. Within the communications industry PR has a fantastic tradition of punching above its weight regarding ROI and effectiveness. So how come they’re being muscled out of the biggest creative stage?
It seems that the judges find that PR agencies ideas aren’t seen as channel neutral as the Ad agencies with Lions judge Matt Neale was quoted as saying ‘We sigh in despair when we receive a brief that prioritises print coverage in the nationals. It narrows our ambition and creativity – our advertising sisters have no such baggage.’ While another judge saying that PR agencies were ‘stuck in historic structures of having one person who is the client contact, the idea generator and also the budget keeper’. But from the perspective of a PR agency, Ogilvy PR MD, and our resident @grumpyprgit Michael Frohlich said last year that “The problem for the PR category is Cannes is all about creativity. PR is about reputation management and impact and effectiveness, of which creativity is part.”
To tackle this problem, in 2013, PR Week organised a roundtable to develop a manifesto that would help PR compete on a level playing field. The plan involved…
It’s this plan that Ogilvy PR has followed with its entries this year and here’s with claws crossed that 2014 is the year that PR finally roars loud enough.