Are Advertising Agencies Like Cats, PR Agencies Like Dogs?


104 West Partners principal makes the case that ad agencies are like cats, PR agencies are like dogs in an interesting blog post, Reigning Cats and Dogs.”

In the article, he makes the case why, during an economic downturn, marketing should go to the dogs. Here are two key points:

  • Traditionally, PR is good value for money, to borrow a phrase from my British friends. The cost of a traditional PR media effort that has even mediocre results can return a ‘CPM’ (now before we get in a lather, I know it’s not a perfect analogy, but it’s what I got) of somewhere around 40 cents. And that’s pretty conservative. That is only the pure media ROI and doesn’t include non-media efforts like speaking engagements or strategic counsel. But we should also look at the non-traditional advantages. PR is essentially the ability to sway opinions. (Some might suggest it’s more pedestrian than that; I’m not sure the pedestrian assessment isn’t an undervaluation, as much as mine may be an overvaluation, but it’s my blog.) And there is an opinion that this economic crisis is very much the result of emotion and opinion. Now I am not downplaying the reality of the credit crisis or the housing slide, but markets are very often driven by emotion. How else would you account for 1000 point swings in the Dow Jones Industrial Average in a matter of minutes?
  • In terms of Web 2.0 approaches, Ward says, “The solutions offered by others instead of PR simply don’t scale. The complexity of the communications effort needed to justify expenses on goods and services in the coming months will not lend itself to marketing’s blunter instruments and even if they did, the cost of making them successful is incongruent with the belt-tightening we are all facing.”


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