Branding versus Advertising [versus Subtle Advertising]

Branding versus Advertising [versus Subtle Advertising]. Do YOU know the difference? Gel your Ps with the Cs.

Anyone, who is someone in the marketing or advertising industry, knows who Peter Drucker, Philip Kotler and Robert Lauterborn are. Needless to say not many of us actually know the difference between branding and advertising. Or for that matter, subtle advertising and buzz words.


Octamom, half ton mom, and Aqua-Man are perfect examples. In this country we are obsessed with branding and image recognition.

Subtle Advertising is when the product is conveniently placed in a television or movie scene so that its logo or brand name is further enhanced in a tighter shot.

Coca Cola on American Idol is the perfect example. Here oversized Coca Cola glasses are prominently displayed in front of the judges. This is prime real estate in television, where tight shots of judges are a must when they “judge” the contestants. Of course, in the close up shots those Coke glasses definitely stand out. There is nothing unlawful about it. Your highest paying advertiser gets the prime real estate. In fact movies have joined the band wagon too. Why is it that every movie you watch, the actor uses an Apple Macintosh computer and drinks Pellegrino water?

Jimmy Fallon’s new late night gig features ‘promotional consideration’ from Bud Lite, Apple and most recently Bing from Microsoft. Apple in particular is known to go after the celebrity angle. Once your idol endorses a product, you are bound to follow suit.

That is clever advertising. Why spend valuable money on countless radio and television commercials, when you can prominently display your product or logo in a blockbuster, right in the hands of an action hero? Definitely makes sense to me – both practically and economically.

The successful marketer will try to understand the target market’s needs, wants, and demands. The 4 P components of Marketing Mix are: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. Robert Lauterborn suggested that the sellers’ four Ps correspond to the customers’ four Cs:


Four Ps —>Four Cs
Product —>Customer solution
Price —>Customer cost
Place —>Convenience
Promotion —>Communication

Product manufacturers, advertisers and marketers who have understood the right correlation between the 4 P’s to the 4 C’s have been successful in what they do. Pick up any company, product or idea, and look for the clues above. You will notice that successful companies or ideas are the ones which have meshed their Ps to the Cs.