PR’s Advertising Week Dilemma

Next week is Advertising Week in New York, where hundreds of agencies and brands of all sorts will congregate for five days of panel discussions, confabs, and parties.

While last year’s opening night saw attendees stuffed into a hot tent in Times Square, and two years ago they took place at Rockeller Center (per the picture at left), this year the opening festivities are located in Central Park.

However, for PR executives, the question is: should I be at a party that bears my adversary’s name?

Porter Novelli is hosting panel Monday night, but most of  the big PR shops (Edelman, Weber Shandwick, Hill & Knowlton, Fleishman-Hillard, Ogilvy PR, Waggener Edstrom, etc.), as well as many brand side executives are staying away from Advertising Week events, or at least they aren’t speaking at many.

It seems to be a pretty clear decision for PR executives: if they’re trying to prove that in the new media world, PR is a more cost effective and sound marketing budget decision than advertising, should they be at “advertising’s week,” or should they avoid it at all costs? Another question: would there ever be a week-long celebration of PR?

The irony is that there are hundreds of PR agencies supporting the marketing efforts for Advertising Week, so the industry is of course always present.

In the “us” versus “them” mentality that, based on the rhetoric coming from agencies seems stronger than ever, it should be noted the upcoming PRWeek conference has a panel titled, “The Age of Opportunity – PR takes the lead,” sponsored by MS&L Group. We have a feeling that title would be a lot more fun if it was presented at Advertising Week.