Chuck Porter Concedes Defeat: ‘The War Is Over. PR Won.’

By Patrick Coffee 

A few facts to start the day: The Holmes Report is a news site that covers the global public relations industry. It is a pretty good source for news about your Ketchums and your Edelmans, if not your Powells and your DiGennaros. It is a little dry at times, but that might be because most PR people (unlike agency creatives) hesitate to mock their own industry in public.

The Holmes Report holds an event each year called the #PRSummit at which practitioners discuss the future of their discipline. This year, one of the speakers at that event was Chuck Porter. He does not work in PR. He did, however, have a few things to say about the ad business.

His main point, as conveniently illustrated here on a slide: there’s been a secret war between PR and advertising for some time, but now it’s done…and you know who lost.


That’s not all, though. Seems CP+B has been running itself more like a PR company for a while, because…

Well, yeah. Here’s Porter talking about creative risks, keeping the oversaturated audience on its toes and the nature of “expected advertising.”

More Chuck around the :45 mark here.

Some key quotes from his talk, as posted by site founder Paul Holmes:

  • CP+B wants to think “more like a PR agency than a traditional ad agency.”
  • Why? Because “PR is typically better than advertising at really manipulating popular culture…and popular culture is currency.”
  • “We believe in trying to make news. People are interested in news; they are not interested in advertising. We have never started with advertising.”
  • He also told the crowd that “Crispin Porter has 40 people ‘who just follow trends.'” They were the ones who found the inspiration for such meme-worthy themes as “Netflix adultery.”
  • On getting clients to do what you want them to do: “One key for us is we have gotten closer and closer to our clients at the top. It’s difficult to sell risky ideas unless you have the relationships at the top.”

We have little doubt that some of you will strongly disagree with Chuck. On the other hand, he does have a few legitimate points, doesn’t he?

And haven’t many of CP+B’s greatest successes come from “earned” media attention?