Characteristics of Publicity
Publicity offers several benefits. There are not costs for message time or space. An ad in prime-time television may cost $250，000 to $5000，000 or more per minute， whereas a five-minute report on a network newscast would not cost anything. However， there are costs for news releases， a publicity department， and other items. As with advertising， publicity reaches a mass audience. Within a short time， new products or company policies are widely known.
Credibility about messages is high， because they are reported in independent media. A newspaper review of a movie has more believability than an ad in the same paper， because the reader associates independence with objectivity. Similarly， people are more likely to pay attention to news reports than to ads. For example， Women’s Wear Daily has both fashion reports and advertisements. Readers spend time reading the stories， but they flip through the ads. Furthermore， there may be 10 commercials during a half-hour television program or hundreds of ads in a magazine. Feature stories are much fewer in number and stand out clearly.
Publicity also has some significant limitations. A firm has little control over messages， their timing， their placement， or their coverage by a given medium. It may issue detailed news releases and find only portions cited by the media， and media have the ability to be much more critical than a company would like.
For example， in 1982， Procter & Gamble faced a substantial publicity problem over the meaning of its 123-year-old company logo. A few ministers and other private citizens believed resulted in the firm receiving 15，000 phone calls about the rumor in June alone. To combat this negative publicity， the firm issued news releases featuring prominent clergy that refuted the rumors， threatened to sue those people spreading the stories， and had a spokesperson appear on Good Morning America. The media cooperated with the company and the false rumors were temporarily put to rest. However， in 1985， negative publicity became so disruptive that Procter & Gamble decided to remove the logo from its-products.
A firm may want publicity during certain periods， such as when a new product is introduced or new store opened， but the media may not cover the introduction or opening until after the time it would aid the firm. Similarly， media determine the placement of a story; it may follow a report on crime or sports. Finally， the media ascertain whether to cover a story at all and the amount of coverage to be devoted to it. A company-sponsored fobs program might go unreported or receive three-sentence coverage in a local newspaper.