Ad Age’s Jonah Bloom has awakened to the rise of PR in the marketing hierarchy and devoted his weekly editorial to it.
That said, he credits the dynamic Miami ad agency Crispin Porter Bogusky and its "subservient chicken" kind of non-traditional advertising approaches focused at consumers and journalists as the main reason why PR is gaining in importance. There’s no doubt the high-flying Crispin, which recently appeared on the cover of BusinessWeek, is re-writing all the staid rules of the oh-so-staid advertising business. But, Bloom is missing the larger, digital part of the equation in his analysis.
Instead of exploring how well-equipped PR is to lead the digital revolution, how people like Steve Rubel are doing just that, and how digital, in turn, is helping to re-write all of the basic marketing rules, Bloom chose instead to go down a different road. He interviewed my good friend and fellow Mets fan, Julia Hood of PR Week, and asked why PR has become so "hot."
Julia responded by saying certain sectors like health care and tech are helping fuel PR’s growth and, get this, that the growth is coming from the mega integrated marketing agencies who are sending more and more referrals to the PR brethren within their holding company ranks. Oh brother.
Not only do they fail to mention the digital trend, but they cite big agency/holding company referrals as a key reason why PR is doing so well.
The real innovation in PR that is driving our industry’s growth and dramatic move up the food chain is coming from the non-holding company world (just check out what Edelman is up to these days). To ascribe our growth and rising prestige to a Y&R throwing a few more bones to a Burson or an Omnicom ad agency inviting a Porter, Fleishman or Ketchum to help pitch an integrated account is both disingenuous and disturbing.
If you want to find the Crispin Porter Bogusky of the PR world (and the catalyst fueling our industry’s upward movement), I don’t suggest looking within any holding company. There’s way too much turf-fighting and focus on pleasing the REAL clients (the Sir Martin’s and John Wren’s), then there is in redefining and reshaping public relations.