Better Together PR and Marketing blog

Better Together: The Relationship Between PR And Marketing

There used to be a time in our profession when you worked in marketing or public relations (PR), never both. The norm was to specialize in one or the other, fostering collaboration without crossing into each other’s domain. Each role was distinct, and professionals respected the unique contributions each made to a project.

While PR and marketing pros both have essential roles in helping a company achieve its goals, PR has historically been responsible for building and maintaining a brand’s reputation, establishing trust, and persuading public perception. Marketing has concentrated on brand management, advertising and product promotion.

Fast forward to 2024 and that line in the sand has evolved into a bridge – allowing industry professionals to seamlessly navigate both realms without confining themselves to a single specialization. Agencies and in-house teams that want a sustainable future see this evolution and offer an array of marketing and PR services to satisfy this need.

At Nuffer, Smith, Tucker (NST), we define public relations not by strategies or tactics but rather by frameworks for strategic thinking, relationship building, creating connections, storytelling and producing results – redefining the public relations industry.

This integrated approach has been at the forefront of our agency’s strategy for decades showcasing our commitment to innovation and adaptability in the ever-evolving communications landscape.

Smells like WD-40

In January 2023, MSCHF, a Brooklyn-based art collective known for its viral pranks and internet stunts, released a cologne called “Smells Like WD-40” in a blue bottle that looked like a smaller, sleeker version of the real thing. MSCHF, no stranger to stirring the pot, had done similar stunts to brands like Nike and Vans with major pushback from the corporations which ended up suing over alleged trademark infringement.

However, when this happened to WD-40® Brand – it was all hands-on deck to turn this joke/stunt into a viral moment. In-house marketing and social media teams, the NST PR team, and other partnering agencies rolled up their sleeves and got to work on a response. See below for how WD-40 Brand’s marketing and PR teams remixed the original ad.


WD-40 Brand’s response on Instagram made waves, becoming the brand’s most successful post ever, reaching more than 800,000 potential fans and garnering 2,300 new followers. Beyond their own platforms, the buzz generated around the cologne and WD-40 Brand’s response reached an estimated 18,000,000 users and earned organic coverage in publications like HYPEBEAST. Additionally, NST pursued earned media outreach, targeting marketing and public relations-focused publications to showcase WD-40 Brand’s innovative response to satirical recreations of their product. This effort resulted in coverage in PR Week, further amplifying the visibility of WD-40 Brand’s response.

The quick response and collaboration from the marketing and PR departments showcased WD-40 Brand’s agility to respond to a trending conversation and create a viral moment. By reacting to the original post, and responding across social and digital media platforms, WD-40 Brand was presented as culturally relevant in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

Don’t Move Citrus Campaign

In 2021, following the first-ever detection of a deadly citrus tree disease called Huanglongbing (HLB) in a residential citrus tree in the city of San Diego, Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Program (CPDPP), a program administered by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, called on NST for a helping hand in controlling the narrative and educating the state of California.

NST and CPDPP developed and executed an integrated communications campaign that would engage diverse audiences throughout the state, resonate with homeowners and convey an easy-to-understand ask with a targeted messaging strategy, advertisements, and a localized earned media approach. Through a combination of earned media and traditional marketing tactics such as radio advertisements, streaming audio placements, social media advertising – the campaign was able to generate more than 128 million total touchpoints throughout the state of California – including 4.7 million advertising impressions and 153 earned media placements.

The campaign successfully reached various points where its target audience consumes news by leveraging both earned media and traditional marketing strategies. By leveraging the resurgence of post-pandemic summer travel in 2021 as a reminder to avoid moving citrus plants and material around the state, NST was able to create a sense of urgency among California residents to avoid the dangers of transporting backyard-grown citrus.

CPDPP don't move citrus

The Future of Pepper Park

In 2021, The Port of San Diego had been working with the City of National City, businesses and community stakeholders to rebalance land uses for the National City Marina District based on public priorities. As part of that effort, the Port sought community input to inform the improvements and redesign of Pepper Park. The Port decided that the best plan of action for this outreach was to conduct a strategic communications and marketing plan to invite the public to a series of pop-up events and workshops.

NST, community partners and The Port of San Diego created a messaging platform that could be used consistently across all community and stakeholder outreach, available in English, Spanish, and Tagalog. Then, with the power of PR and marketing – the team crafted materials in all three languages including: website copy, digital and physical event invitations, electronic newsletters, printed flyers and posters, press releases, press kits, media alerts, and social media content to be shared across social channels.

POSD Pepper Park

Due to the combination of digital and print outreach, 12 million community touchpoints were generated over fourth months, with 363 residents attending community workshops, 100 people attending hosted pop-up events, and 14 local media outlets engaged for coverage.

While PR and/or marketing efforts could have generated impressions individually, the combination of efforts generated more impactful touchpoints within the community, resulting in community participation that exceeded the Port’s expectations. Residents in the impacted communities rallied under a unifying cause and generated valuable feedback to the Port in the redesign of Pepper Park thanks to this approach.

Curious what other projects, clients, or success stories are up NST’s sleeve? Then check out our case studies here.