PR vs. the Super Bowl…a cost comparison

Like most red blooded American, I love Super Bowl Sunday.  Great football, great food, and more often than not, great advertising.

But, I’ve got to admit, the professional side of me is just a tad jealous whenever I hear just how much companies invest in their Super Bowl advertising.  A 30-second spot for the big game costs $2 million and is viewed by approximately 100 million people in the United States.  So, on average, it costs a nickel to reach each potential customer.  Actually, that’s a pretty efficient buy.

But, let me make the case for PR…

A friend of mine is PR manager for a small division of a Fortune 500 company.   His outside agency budget is approximately $125,000.00 per year.

This year, their media coverage, which included major national media such as The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, MSNBC, CBS, and The New York Times, reached an audience of nearly 800 million.  Do the math…each nickel they spent helped reach 320 people!

Now, I know clip counting and impressions generated is a crude and somewhat antiquated measure of PR effectiveness.  But, it is still a pretty good gauge for how far and wide your message travels.  Any marketer looking at maximizing their effectiveness, especially in this era of heightened accountability, would be smart to take a long, hard look at shifting budget toward the PR department.  In the long run it’s a great investment.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on PR effectiveness and how you are measuring success.  The more examples we can all share like my friend, the better off the entire PR profession will be!

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