Volumes could be written about this, but at its basest, the argument is this. In pre-digital, the only way to reach considerable numbers of people direct was via advertising. Positioning and branding were heavily reliant on advertising; if you wanted to showcase the real you, be fun, be smart, use visuals etc. you would advertise. Now, in the digital age, you can reach your target direct; you can do all of the above without buying media space. What’s more, you can do so while engaging: hearing what people have to say and building relationships with people who matter. Is advertising obsolete? Of course not, but it’s not all-dominant and can’t stand alone anymore: it needs to be intertwined with relationship building. And that’s where traditional advertisers are struggling in the digital age (and incidentally, where smart PR companies are thriving.) Their age-old love it and leave it approach to campaigns hasn’t yet developed into one in which advertising and PR/stakeholder relations are integrated. That needs to happen if they’re to ensure long-term survival.