I’m not one to gloat… OK, maybe I am. But I won’t go as far as to say I told you so. Last week I talked about how public relations spurred Michael’s Nutter’s meteoric rise in the Philadelphia mayoral democratic primary race. Well on Tuesday, voters validated the marketing approach (oh yeah, and the candidate) by making Nutter a resounding winner.
Nutter won despite the more than $10 million spent in advertising by businessman and political newcomer Tom Knox. This political proxy seems to echo a sentiment emerging in the marketing space in recent years — paid advertising is giving way to public relations and “earned media.” As marketing gurus Al and Laura Reis say in their book, The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR, it’s more effective to build a brand, or a candidate for that matter, through public relations than it is through advertising.
Why? It comes down to credibility really.
According to Reis and his daughter, people are much more apt to believe something when it’s said by a news outlet than they are to take an advertising message to heart. I’m inclined to believe that statement. And apparently so is Michael Nutter.
The day after winning the primary Nutter was already on the PR train, leading calisthenics in the morning with a group of City Year members and announcing his platform on key issues in the afternoon.
So a quick note to Al Taubenberger, the little known Republican facing Nutter in this fall’s general election:
If you want to have a shot at becoming Philadelphia’s next mayor, I’ve got two words for you: Public Relations.