In The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR
, longtime marketing strategist Al Ries and his daughter/business partner Laura Ries offer solid arguments championing the latter over the former for modern-day brand building. Such a stance is hardly new for these two, who have jointly, individually, and with others written eight previous books on related topics since Al penned The Positioning Era Cometh
for Advertising Age
some three decades ago. What's fresh this time is the dissection of contemporary corporate hits--like Starbucks, Botox, eBay, and even Harry Potter--that have eschewed traditional advertising and nevertheless soared to the top through the savvy use of public relations. The authors spend the first part of the book discussing how advertising lost credibility among consumers as it became more of a creative art than a sales tool, and the second part showing how PR subsequently supplanted it in effectiveness. Using the above examples and others, they explain how such practices can work in various situations (building a new brand, rebuilding an old one, dealing with line extensions, etc.), as well as ways advertising can still be usefully employed (primarily to maintain a brand and "keep it on course"). The result is both provocative and practical. --Howard Rothman
From Publishers Weekly
Marketing strategists Ries and Ries spend all 320 pages of their latest book arguing one point: skillful public relations is what sells, not advertising. Case in point: the failure of Pets.com's sock puppet ads. However, in a chapter devoted to dot-com advertising excesses, the authors never mention that many dot-coms had miserable business plans and neophyte management. (The Rieses may be counting on the sock puppet to sell another commodity, as a deflated sock puppet dominates the book's jacket.) Today, most small companies aren't bloated with venture capital to buy TV ads, yet the book has little practical advice on how these companies' executives should use public relations, particularly PR's most important role: crisis control. Some readers might resent paying $24.95 for what amounts to an advertisement for pricey PR consulting firms like Ries & Ries. The authors frequently poke fun at the most outrageous TV ads of recent years, paralleling Sergio Zyman's The End of Advertising As We Know It (reviewed above), a more thoughtful critique of current advertising trends. The inherent flaw in the Rieses' logic: time and again they cite ad campaigns for new products that are "off message" and then say how much sales declined; this supports the notion that products and services are sold by good advertising. Although their book is occasionally entertaining, the argument is simplistic and self-serving. Illus.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.