Monday, October 28, 2013


The history of Public Relations and it's godfather 'Edward Bernays' have long fascinated me. Bernays was one of the first to utilize psychology(much of it from his uncle, Sigmund Freud) and work it into extensive campaigns for various clients. All the way from The White House to Proctor & Gamble.

He's credited at being the man who modified the idea of creating a consumer class. This was based on the belief that man was basically a savage that responded to primitive drives rather than intellect, and that the only way of truly managing society was to 'manufacture consent. He helped Herbert Hoover coin the term 'Happy Spending Machines'. Some of his notable campaigns are:

    Working with the pork industry to create the 'Bacon & Egg' breakfast as the true American breakfast.
    Helping the American Tobacco Company incraese their market to women by staging 'Liberty Torch' marches in New York City, as to make cigarettes a symbol of equality
    His campaign for the United Fruit Company led to the overthrow of the Guatemalan Government in 1954

While a lot of his work was controversial, there's no doubt that modern firms such as Hill & Knowlton and Rendon Group would never have had the insight into modern PR if it weren't for him. So much of his work spanned advertising (which is how I became aware of him) and led into actual domestic and foreign policy making.

BBC did a great series about this called 'Century Of Self" Check it out here.

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