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PR V Advertising: Dawn Of Publicity

05/06/2016 8:37 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:27 AM IST
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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was one of the most anticipated movies of 2016, and rightly so. It's not every day that two superheroes feature in the same movie, let alone fight each other. So I thought I'd try to differentiate between PR and advertising using these characters as references.

"The world hates what it does not understand," is not just another dialogue that Superman's mother uses in the movie. It also happens to apply to consumer mentality.

Let's assume that Batman represents advertising and Superman represents PR. Batman possesses a large quantity of capital and is highly intelligent. Superman on the other hand, is the complete package. As a result of his superhuman abilities, he is considered "The Man of Steel".

The strategic difference

Batman relies on his financial security to ensure that he is equipped to deal with any situation. His well-thought-out plans have a direct approach towards his targets. Advertisements use this tactic as well. The primary objective of advertising is to increase sales. Therefore, direct communication between a company and its public is desired.

"The world hates what it does not understand," is not just another dialogue that Superman's mother uses... It also happens to apply to consumer mentality.

Superman has super strength, heat vision and speed, to name a few. He uses these powers to help humanity and is, therefore, a popular superhero. PR adopts a similar principle. Its primary focus is obtaining a positive image for a company among the media and its public.

Advantages Superman (PR) Has Over Batman (Advertising)

1. Credibility

Imagine that Lois Lane represents the media. Batman does not feel that he has to have a relationship with Lois in order to get his message out there. He feels that by branding people with his logo, it will remind the public of his presence. Advertising works along the same lines. A company puts up ads and billboards in order to sell their product/service.

Superman does have a close relationship with Lois. She, therefore, favours him in the media which gives him credibility over Batman. PR invests in maintaining apt media relations, which is a powerful form of influencing the public. A newspaper article has more perceived authenticity than a company advertisement.

2. Cost

Batman is a billionaire. He can afford the latest equipment and gadgets, depending on the need of the hour. Advertising is a tool used by financially stable companies. They have the "green to make themselves be seen".

Superman is a low budget superhero from Kansas. He makes do with the same suit that he was sent to Earth with, and uses spectacles to protect his identity. PR is all about putting in minimum investments to get maximum coverage. It is, therefore, a more cost-effective form of marketing.

3. Image

Batman is also referred to as 'The Dark Knight'. He is feared by most for his questionable ways of operating. He works in the dark, as a result of which, accepting him to be trustworthy is difficult.

Batman believes in letting his fists do the talking... He basically likes to make an impression. Advertising is precisely that, minus the blood and gore.

However, Superman is called a god amongst men. He does not hide his intentions from the people and is considered to be virtuous. A company that uses advertising fails to create a sense of intimacy with its patrons. Whereas PR believes in transparency between the company, the media and its public. This builds a positive persona and encourages people to believe in the brand.

4. Tactics

Batman believes in letting his fists do the talking. Though he is against killing, he is definitely not against violence. He basically likes to make an impression. Advertising is precisely that, minus the blood and gore. It relies on visuals to hook the audience and increase sales.

Superman is more of a diplomat. He would rather talk a situation through, than resort to physical measures. So is the case with PR. It prefers to use language as its modus operandi.

5. Consumers

The people of Gotham know that whenever they see the bat signal light up the sky, Batman is up to something. Consumers react the same way to advertisements. They know that the message has been paid for and approach it with scepticism.

Superman is more of a diplomat. He would rather talk a situation through, than resort to physical measures.

The citizens of Metropolis get their Superman news and gossip from the media, courtesy of The Daily Planet. PR audiences feel a degree of comfort with accepting products/services that are introduced to them via a third party.

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So to recap, we can say that PR uses a universal approach towards marketing. It does not just focus on a straightforward form of communication with the end consumer like advertising does. In fact, it allocates efforts towards creating a favourable public opinion for a company, which in return boosts sales. Not to mention that it is more cost-effective. So according to me, PR is a better-equipped toolkit to use while handling the promotion of a product. It is essential in creating a trustworthy brand that has a better recollection value. Just like Batman and Superman are both part of the "Justice League', PR and advertising are a part of marketing. And even the justice league has an unofficial leader.

Stay tuned for my next blog, where I attempt to explain why PR is necessary for any business.

Disclaimer: The above content is purely my opinion.

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