News outta the US says that a new clutch of internet players are giving potential advertisers the low-cost opportunity of buying, creating and monitoring their own online ad campaigns. Just like online car sales ads have caused a shrink in newspaper classifieds, should ad agencies be even more fearful that their days are numbered, and that PR is better placed to help clients reach technologically-equipped audiences?

Take the case of Chicago-based Bonobos Pants; using Facebooks new self-serve ad system, Bonobos CEO created ads for a total of US63 bucks, the ads were viewed a quarter of a million times and Bonobos shifted its entire stock of trousers.

Ad guys will bullishly counter that clients cant replicate creativity or engineer clever strategies, yet consider this: Bonobos ads allegedly had no-brainer, low creative taglines and the simplest of product pics. Then theres also the wave of sometimes stellar consumer-generated-content thats being uploaded to soc media sites. And a few of the other CGA (Consumer Generated Ads) providers are also auto-calculating ROI between spending and results. Check out AdReady Inc, AdBrite Inc and AdItAll.

As to my point of why online plus traditional PR may be a better way to achieve cut-through? I didnt learn of this development via an ad; it came via an article (Ill wager placed by a media relations gun) in the Wall Street Journal.

What do you think? Will PR start to eclipse the ad agency as the choice for tech-equipped audiences?