2007 – Researchers found public relations placements and advertising to be equally effective in generating consumer interest in a newly launched product. No statistically significant difference between ad and editorial in an experiment focused on key measures of credibility, knowledge, interest and purchase intent. Although the respondents said that they got more information from the news article (despite identical information in the ad), that did not increase the believability of the message. Nor were there significant differences between ad and editorial regarding purchase intent, although those reading the news story showed less variance in overall interest.
Exploring the Comparative Communications Effectiveness of Advertising and Media Placement (PDF)
Exploring the Comparative Communications Effectiveness of Advertising and Media Placement (PPT)
David Michaelson and Don W. Stacks