Difference Between Advertising and Publicity (With Table)

There are several different methods to make a message reach out to the masses. Especially in times when technology has advanced so much and almost everyone knows about digitalism, advertising, and publicity are two of the most efficient ways to fulfill the purpose. Though these two methods have a similar objective, they still have multiple dissimilarities that make them stand apart.

Advertising vs Publicity

The main difference between advertising and publicity is that advertising is solely done to increase the sales of a particular organization or product. While on the other hand, publicity is done to make people aware of a particular situation or thing. 

Advertising vs Publicity

Advertising is a method used as a promotional tool by a particular organization. Almost every successful organization has a group of professional people who only focus on advertising their respective organization or a particular part of the organization through several different advertising methods. In most general cases, this group of professional people is known as the organization’s marketing team.

Publicity is another method, but unlike advertising, it is not done to increase sales or promote a particular organization. Publicity is mainly done to reach the masses and make many people aware of something. Publicity does not come under a particular group or organization’s control. 

Comparison Table Between Advertising and Publicity

Parameters of comparisonAdvertisingPublicity
ObjectiveThe objective of advertising is to increase the sales of the company.The objective of publicizing is to make people aware of something.
What is advertised or publicized?The company itself or the services of the company or the product of the company.Any facts or information or situation or general awareness.
IntentAdvertising in only done in a positive way.Publicity can be done either in a positive way or a negative way.
ExpenseAdvertising is a highly expensive method.Publicity is a relatively less expensive method as compared to advertising.
AudienceAdvertising focuses only on a target audience.Publicity focuses on masses, that is to say, as many people as possible.
RepresentativeRepresentative is the company or a particular part of the company.Representative is a third party group.
ControlAdvertising is controlled by the company.Publicity is controlled by the third party group.

What is Advertising?

Advertising can be defined as a single way of communication between an organization and the audience. That is to say, only the organization has the control of communicating to the audience through advertisements. The sole purpose of the method of advertising by any organization or a company is to promote themselves, or the services offered by the company or the organization or their products. 

Among all the several methods of making something reach the audience, advertising is the most efficient and effective way of doing it. Advertising can be done through multiple methods, such as television, radio, newspaper, magazine, or other such methods.

Though advertising is one of the most effective ways to make a dialogue reach the masses, it is also one of the most expensive methods. Advertising takes a lot of time, effort, and money as well. That is the reason why advertising is a method that is mainly used by high-end organizations and companies only.

Advertising is always done so that the target audience has a positive mindset regarding the product or the services being advertised through advertisements. In simpler words, it can be said that publicity is always done positively only.

Television Advert

What is Publicity?

Publicity might sound similar to advertising, but publicity is a completely different method from advertising. The word publicity is made up of two different words, that is, public and the second word is visibility. That means the major objective of publicity is to make a situation visible to the public. 

Publicity is mainly done to inform people of any information about a situation, general awareness, factual knowledge, or any other such thing. Moreover, publicity is done to bring the audience’s attention to the message being publicized through the method.

Apart from that, unlike advertising, publicity also asks for the audience’s reviews. So, it can be said that publicity is a two-way dialogue between the publicizing group and the audience.

Publicity is done in such a way that people have a reasonable or realistic mindset about the information that is being publicized. In simpler words, it can be said that publicity can be done either positively or negatively.

Main Differences Between Advertising and Publicity

  1. The objective of advertising by any company or organization is to increase its sales. While on the other hand, the objective of publicity is to make people aware of something.
  2. Advertising is done to advertise the company, any organization, their services, or their products. Publicity makes people aware of some information, facts, or a situation.
  3. Advertising is always done positively. Publicity can be either done positively or negatively.
  4. Advertising is one of the most costly methods of doing promotion. Publicity is a relatively less costly method as compared to advertising.
  5. Advertising is done only to reach a specific target audience. In contrast, publicity is done to reach as many people as possible.
  6. A company, an organization, or a representative marketing group does advertising. Publicity is done through a third-party group.
  7. Advertising comes under the control of a company or organization. Publicity does not come under any company but the third-party group responsible for publicizing the message.


The major difference between advertising and publicity is their objective. A company does advertising to promote its services or its products. While on the other hand, publicity is done to make people aware of something.


  1. https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/260231
  2. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1987-97569-000
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