Difference Between Advertising and Publicity


Main Difference

The main difference between Advertising and Publicity is that Advertising is marketing along with a promotional tool in the hands of the company which imparts a message about the company or a product to the viewers, and Publicity is based on reality as t is neither supported nor it is under the direction of any company or its representatives.

Advertising vs. Publicity

Advertising is a sponsored promotion done to sell the product, whereas publicity is a free activity aiming at spreading information or news. When advertising is a strategy belonging to the promotion mix, publicity seen as a part of public relations. Advertising activities are impersonal addressing the mass audience; publicity can be both personal or impersonal. In advertising, the company has full access and control over the message and how it presented. In publicity, the company holds minimal control over the message and its circulation, whereas the third party majorly controls the activities. The target audience in case of advertising is potential customers. Whereas, in publicity, the target audience is the public.


Advertising involves huge cost spent on the creation of the message and buying off the media slot and making the ads live. On the contrary, publicity is a free activity or may involve some minimal expenses incurred on making the arrangements. Advertising builds a good image of the product and the company in the market. Publicity, on the other hand, creates the goodwill of the brand by developing trust among the public. Advertising considered to be less credible and reliable, whereas publicity holds high credibility due to third party promotion.

Comparison chart

The activity of generating advertisements for products and services to commercialize them is known as Advertising.The activity of provision information about an entity, i.e., a product, a person, or a company to make it famous is known as Publicity.
What it’s?
It is what the company states about its product.It is what others state about the product.
Given by
Company and its representativeThird Party
Credibility and Reliability
LessComparatively more
Cost involved
A very expensive marketing tool.Free of cost.
Focus on
Target AudienceAwareness

What is Advertising?

Advertisement easily defined as a powerful communication tool which assists the organizations to sell goods, ideas, or services to the specific or potential customers. The advertisement is done through various channels of media like electronic media, print media, social media, etc. Every organization takes the utmost care in creating and communicating the advertisement to its target market. The advertisements are precise, short, and simple communication to reach customers by targeting and segmenting customers into different groups.

Types of Advertising

  • Above the line advertising: include activities that are largely non-targeted and have a wide reach.
  • Below the line advertising: include conversion focused activities which directed towards a specific target group.
  • Through line advertising: are directed towards brand building and conversions and make use of targeted (personalized) advertisement strategies.
  • Print Advertising: Newspaper, magazines, & brochure advertisements, etc.
  • Broadcast Advertising: Television and radio advertisements.
  • Outdoor Advertising: Hoardings, banners, flags, wraps, etc.
  • Digital Advertising: Advertisements displayed over the internet and digital devices.
  • Product/Brand Integration: Product placements in entertainment media like the TV show, YouTube video, etc.

Objectives of Advertising

  • To Inform
  • To Persuade
  • To Remind
  • Brand Building
  • Increasing Sales
  • Creating Demand
  • Engagement
  • Expanding Customer Base
  • Changing Customers’ attitudes

What is Publicity?

Publicity is also a means of mass communication. It is not a paid form of media that implies getting a favorable response of buyers by placing commercially substantial news in mass media. Publicity is not paid for by the organization. It considered as a part of public relations. Publicity undertook for a wide range of purposes like promoting new products, increasing sales of an existing product, etc. It also based on highlighting employees’ achievements, company’s civic actions, pollution control steps, research and progress successes, financial performance, its progress, any other priest activities, or social contribution.

Objectives of Publicity

Sales promotion is initiated for a wide variety of purposes. They may include the promotion of a new product, pollution control, special achievements of employees, publicizing new policies, or increase in sales. It is primarily concerned with publishing or highlighting the company’s activities and products.

Key Differences

  1. Advertising is to promote a product or service of a company, for commercial purposes. Publicity is to promote a product, service, or company to provide information.
  2. There is a large investment to be made for advertising a single product; however, publicity does not need such kind of investment.
  3. Advertising is dependent on the company, which is just the opposite in the case of publicity.
  4. Advertising is what a company states about its product, but Publicity is what others say about a product.
  5. The key people behind advertising are the company and its representatives. Conversely, Publicity did by a third party which is not related to any company.
  6. Advertising often occurs to grab the attention of the customers while Publicity did only a one-time act.
  7. As advertising is doing to promote a brand or a product, so the credibility and reliability are rather less in comparison to publicity, where the opinion comes from an independent source.
  8. Advertising is ever customer focused, i.e., the more creative the advertising, the more are the customers fascinated to it while publicity is not done keeping such things in mind.
  9. Advertising always speaks the goodness about a product, to persuade the target audience to buy it. In contrast to publicity, it is unbiased, and so it will speak the reality.


Both advertising and publicity are two power or marketing tools used by organizations which aim at communicating to a larger audience about a certain activity, product, or service. Both different in terms of cost, control, visibility, sponsor identification, persuasion effectiveness, and perceived credibility.