Difference Between Advertising and Publicity (With Table)

There are many tools used in marketing or a launch of a brand, promoting a brand or its products. Some of these marketing tools include advertising, publicity, free sample gifting, budget value offers, sale seasons, etc. In all of these marketing tools, advertising and publicity are the most common ones. 

One can get easily confused between the two if they don’t know about the terms as both of them serve the same purpose up to a great extent. Advertising and publicity are usually regarded as the same and often misunderstood by people. Although they can serve the same purpose of promoting a brand or a product, there is a very fine line difference between both of them. 

Advertising vs Publicity 

The main difference between Advertising and Publicity is that advertising is more about promoting a product. On the other hand, publicity can both promote or defy a product or service. They both also differ in terms of expenses done on advertising vs the expenses for publicity.

Advertising focuses on highlighting the positive points of a product or service to attract customers. The main aim of an advertisement is to boost the sales of the product or service or to create a demand which ultimately boosts sales. Advertisement can be done via social media, print media, electronic media, hoardings, etc. 

Publicity aims to provide information relevant to a product or a service provided. It can be positive or negative, highly affecting the sale of the same. Publicity is an inexpensive tool that has a drastic effect on the demand and supply chain.` 

Comparison Table Between Advertising and Publicity

Parameters of ComparisonAdvertisingPublicity
MeaningMarketing tools are used to attract customers by promoting the product.Publicity is the act of spreading information about a product, goods, or service provided by a company or person.
ObjectiveTo attract customer and boost sales.Focuses mainly on product reviewing and sharing the knowledge of product, goods, or services.
ExpensesIt is a very expensive tool.Inexpensive
NaturePositive i.e. promotes the product.May be positive or negative.
OutcomesAttracts customersMay attract customers or lose customers, in case of negative publicity.

 What is Advertising?

Advertising is one of the major promotional and marketing tools used by the company to promote its brand or its products. The advertising aims to convey a message which represents its product or shows the brand value to its customer, viewers, and readers.

The main purpose served by advertising is to attract the customer, or say product audience so that they choose their products instead of products of other companies available in the market. It is a tool organized by the company and is a very costly tool. It is the most expensive marketing tool used by a company for the non-personal promotion of its products. 

It is a one-way communication that tells about the product, its uses, benefits, and Availability to create a demand in the market. The increased demand for the product leads to the sale of the specific product which was the basic motive to create an advertisement. The companies use this specific tool due to its wide network and reach of the advertisement to the public. Advertising can be done through audio, video, or print mode. 

The most common advertising is done via television, radio, social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, pop-up ads, YouTube advertisements, newspapers, magazines, hoardings, etc. One should not buy a product based only on the advertisement, as sometimes they may be misleading or the product could not suit you. The advertising only highlights the products and their features and does not show the complete description. 

What is Publicity? 

Publicity can be simply broken into two parts: public and visibility. Publicity mainly aims to spread information about a trend, topic, or product. Publicity is also used to grab the attention of the general public using the media platforms such as broadcasting, printing, or audio sources. 

The publicity can be done of a product, person, a business, any kind of service, or any other thing. Publicity is usually free of cost as it isn’t a promotional tool. Publicity can be in a printed form in newspapers as reviews. Also, there can be positive or negative publicity depending on the use and effects of the product or service. They are real and do not mislead the general public. 

Publicity is a form of an unbiased opinion of a person, who may or may not be an expert or by a common man. This is a very common practice and can be misused to create a false image of a company by their rivals to bring down the company and ruin its reputation. Once the reputation and image of a company destroy in the public, it is quite difficult to gain back the lost reputation. The company also suffers a major loss because of such false publicity. And vice versa, the sales rise sky high in case of the positive publicity.

Main Differences Between Advertising and Publicity 

  1. Advertising is the marketing tool used to highlight a product and boost its sale while publicity is the spread of information on a product, service, or company. 
  2. Advertising is done by the company manufacturing or marketing the product while publicity is done by the public. 
  3. Advertising requires investment whereas publicity does not. 
  4. Advertising highlights the product and shows its positive points whereas publicity shows both positive and negative aspects of a product or service. 
  5. Publicity can be positive or negative while advertising is always positive. 
  6. Advertising is a repeated process done to grab the attention of the public while publicity is more of a one-time act. 
  7. Advertising is dependent on the company and shows positive opinions while publicity is an unbiased opinion having more credibility. 


Both the term highly affect the sales of the product or service provided by a company or a person. Advertising is an expensive marketing method that undoubtedly attracts a lot of customers. Publicity can have a positive or negative impact depending on the spread of the information of the product or service. A person should rely more upon the specific suitability of the product for themselves before buying it or investing in something new. 


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/016748709390040R
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.2753/JOA0091-3367390107