Difference between advertising and publicity

What is Advertising?

Advertising can be defined as a one-way paid public communication that conveys a message to the viewers, readers, and listeners, in today’s case, the scroller, regarding a product and service, or company. It may be the most powerful and expensive tool to sell products and services to the targeted customers.

Kotler defined advertising as “any paid form of non-personal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods, and services through mass media such as newspapers, magazines, television or radio by an identified sponsor”

According to Wheeler, “Advertising is any form of paid non-personal presentation of ideas, goods or services for the purpose of inducing people to buy.”

What is Publicity?

Publicity helps a business to create public awareness about the company or the brands, products, or services through social media, TV news, a magazine, or a consumer blog. It is all about how the business spreads its information by various media- for free most of the cases!

According to Michale Levine, the author of Guerilla P.R , the best analogy for public relations is gift wrapping. “If I went to visit a woman today and gave her a gift in a Tiffany box, it would have a higher perceived value than if I just gave it to her plain.  Because she and you and I live in a culture where we gift wrap everything, our politicians, TV stars, and even our toilet paper.

Difference between Advertising and Publicity in Table


Basic TermsAdvertisingPublicity
DefinitionA form of communication or promotional tool used by the business organization through paid media to sell to the target audienceA free communication tool used by a business organization to spread the idea, goods, or services to increase public awareness about the business or brand
NatureNon-personal form of communicationCan either be personal or non-personal
Run byBusiness or AgencyThird-Party
ImpactImpact on salesImpact on business image
PurposeIncrease the brand awarenessIncrease the sale
ExpensesMost ExpensiveLess Expensive
MeasurementThe result can be measuredDifficult to be measured
Focus onTarget AudienceAwareness
Promotion TypePaid promotionUnpaid Promotion
MediumMostly visualUse Languages
ControlComplete creative controlMedia or platform control the final version
Credibility and ReliabilityLessComparatively more
Audience’s ReactionAudience is skepticalMedia gives a third eye validation
Final WordsBuy this productThis is important

Main Difference Between Publicity and Advertising


Difference between Advertising and Publicity

Summary of Advertising vs Publicity

  • The most noticeable difference between advertising and publicity is the cost. Advertising is expensive while publicity tends to involve a little amount of money, sometimes even free!
  • Advertising is a paid media where publicity is an earned media.       
  • In Advertising, the result is immediate. But in Publicity, it takes time to get the result.
  • Advertising is a promotional activity for the purpose of selling the product to the targeted customers, whereas publicity is a free activity aiming at increasing brand awareness, information about the product or services to potential customers.
  • Advertising is a promotion mix strategy and publicity is a part of public relations.
  • Advertising activities are impersonal addressing the mass or the targeted audience where publicity can be both personal and impersonal.
  • Advertising builds exposures where Publicity builds trust.
  • Advertising uses mostly visuals while publicity uses languages.
  • Advertising states all the good about a product or service while publicity speaks about both the good and bad sides of a product.
  • Advertising focuses more on the audiences or the targeted customers while publicity on creating awareness to the potential customers.
  • The business has control over advertising unlike publicity
  •  Publicity has more credibility than advertising

In conclusion, advertising vs publicity is like Sales Vs Awareness. But you don’t have to choose between any of them. Though advertising and publicity are separate disciplines, both are blended together. According to research, it takes around seven impressions for a customer to remember. Unsought products like a fire extinguisher, electronic rice cooker, etc need more advertising as well as publicity to create more awareness among customers.