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Publicity is the movement of information with the effect of increasing public awareness of a subject. The subjects of publicity include people (for example, politicians and performing artists), goods and services, organizations of all kinds, and works of art or entertainment.
Publicity is gaining public visibility or awareness for a product, service or your company via the media. It is the publicist that carries out publicity, while PR is the strategic management function that helps an organization communicate, establish and maintain communication with the public. This can be done internally, without the use of media.
From a marketing perspective, publicity is one component of promotion which is one component of marketing. The other elements of the promotional mix are advertising, sales promotion, direct marketing and personal selling. Examples of promotional tactics include:
- Announce an appointment
- Arrange a speech or talk
- Arrange for a testimonial
- Art people
- Conduct a poll or survey
- Event sponsorship
- Invent then present an award
- Issue a commendation
- Issue a report
- Make an analysis or prediction
- Organize a tour of your business or projects
- Stage a debate
- Take a stand on a controversial subject
The advantages of publicity are low cost, and credibility (particularly if the publicity is aired in between news stories like on evening TV news casts). New technologies such as weblogs, web cameras, web affiliates, and convergence (phone-camera posting of pictures and videos to websites) are changing the cost-structure. The disadvantages are lack of control over how your releases will be used, and frustration over the low percentage of releases that are taken up by the media.
Publicity draws on several key themes including birth, love, and death. These are of particular interest because they are themes in human lives which feature heavily throughout life. In television serials several couples have emerged during crucial ratings and important publicity times, as a way to make constant headlines. Also known as a publicity stunt, the pairings may or may not be according to the fact.
"Publicity is not merely an assembly of competing messages: it is a language in itself which is always being used to make the same general proposal," writes the art critic John Berger. "It proposes to each of us that we transform ourselves, or our lives by buying. .publicity is not paid for something more."
A publicist is a person whose job is to generate and manage publicity for a product, public figure, especially a celebrity, or for a work such as a book or movie or band. Publicists could work in large companies as in little companies.
Though there are many aspects to a publicist's job, their main function is to persuade the press to report about their client in the most positive way possible. Publicists are adept at identifying and pulling out "newsworthy" aspects of products and personalities to offer to the press as possible reportage ideas. Publicists offer this information to reporters in the specific format of a magazine, newspaper, TV or radio show, or online outlet. The third aspect of a publicist's job is to shape "stories" about their clients at a time that fits within a media outlet's news cycle.
Publicists are most often categorized under a marketing arm of a company. Marketing is anything that a company does to get their product into the hands of a customer who will pay for it. Publicity, specifically, uses the objective opinion of a reporter to tell that story. A seasoned publicist knows how to present a newsworthy story in a way that suggests editorial coverage in a certain direction. This is what is generally referred to as "spin," though it is not a negative connotation, only a very keen ability to present a story in a way that fits for a media outlet at the right time.
Effectiveness of Publicity
The theory, Any press is good press, has been coined to describe situations where bad behaviour by people involved with an organization or brand has actually resulted in positive results, due to the fame and press coverage accrued by such events.
One example would be the Australian Tourism Board's "So where the bloody hell are you?" advertising campaign that was initially banned in the UK, but the amount of publicity this generated resulted in the official website for the campaign being swamped with requests to see the banned ad.
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- Berger, John (1972). Ways of Seeing. London, England: BBC. p. 131. ISBN 9780140135152.
- UK restricts 'bloody hell' tourism ads. 09/03/2006. ABC News Online