PR and advertising meld as economy shrinks

Advertising and public relations stand at a crossroads — at once battered by recession-driven corporate downsizing and confronted with a bevy of new and often untested online platforms. Amid the uncertainty, firms have battled back with disparate strategies: eschewing general advertising to reach smaller target audiences; rushing to integrate the once separate fiefdoms of PR and advertising; and seeking to capitalize on the disintegration of multinational firms by buying up local branch offices.

At the same time, both industries are clambering to embrace social media such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as cheaper alternatives to print and television that have long been their bread and butter.

But with new media still largely unproven, others express reservations about the online exuberance and have instead bucked conventional wisdom, continuing to invest in traditional platforms.

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