Saw this ad in thelondonpaper yesterday.

Not bad. Relevant. With a striking and mildly funny visual.

Actually, there weren't many ads in the paper. But there was this.

Victoria Beckham, AKA Posh Spice, buying a dress in Oxfam (second-hand clothes store chain run by a charity). Now, don't tell me this is news. It isn't. (How come there were cameras there?) It was surely originated by Oxfam's PR agency.

And it communicates brilliantly. "Hey, Oxfam clothes are so stylish, even Posh shops here." I don't imagine an ad could do the job better.

Well, in a way this is an ad. It's got a 'visual', with a small 'headline' underneath it. (Oxfam... the new Gucci? The Oxfam marketing department must be cock-a-hoop).

But it's way better than an ad. For a start, it's ON THE FRONT PAGE OF THE NEWSPAPER. Plus IT WAS FREE. Media spend zero. Plus it's under the radar. It's not ignorable like ads are.

Then I saw this. Page 2.

A stunt from PETA. Shocking, visually stunning image. Gets the message across. And there it is. A PR 'ad' on page 2 of the newspaper. Cost them nothing. (Presumably the ladies taking their clothes off were volunteers).

Then this.

It's a 'news story' about audience-members fainting during the movie Saw III. Yeah, right. Of course they were. But no matter, it's a powerful advertisement for the film.

Are the PR people doing a better job of promoting products than we are?