Publicity, PR and the BMW case

In the book, The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR , Al Ries talks about how PR has risen to being the most potent communiqué that companies can use in building brands. This is because PR carries more credibility that Advertising. I agree.

But what about Publicity? The difference between PR and publicity is that Public relations encompasses a variety of marketing tactics that strengthen your credibility, enhance a brand’s image, develop goodwill or influence public opinion. These tactics, such as speeches, special events, newsletters, annual reports and news releases, are targeted to an audience. P.R. involves communicating who the brand is, what it does, and how the brand benefits customers and the community. On the other hand, Publicity is only one function of public relations. It is media coverage — news stories, feature articles, talk show interviews, editorials and reviews.

Publicity is extremely credible as it is a communiqué that emanates from a neutral entity and therefore is most likely to have an impact on the reader, listener or viewer.

But again, Is all publicity, whether good or bad, good for the brand?

What about Sasha Cohen who played Borat and his depiction of Kazakhstan? And Kate Moss? Although the Mirror’s white powder snoot scoop cost Moss deals with Chanel and Henne & Mauritz, she has recently signed new contracts as the face of Burberry, Bulgari and Dior to name but three. She is also one of Versace's main models for Donatella's autumn shows and the star of four short erotic films for Agent Provocateur, shot by Mike Figgis. The films have proved so popular that the underwear brand's server crashed within minutes of them going live.

Just yesterday the scandal that has hit India is NDTV’s hidden camera expose of the Judicial system in India. The story has been carried under the name. ‘The BMW Case’. Though BMW is nowhere involved in this case, the brand BMW has been repeated on this News Channel over and over again while the story was replayed as many times. Now has this story affected the BMW brand name in India? Remember BMW has nothing to do with this case. It’s just that the car involved in the crash was a BMW. It would be interesting to know if this story has impacted the brand recall of BMW amongst Indian Television viewers and their perceptions about the brand.
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