Who Dunnit? Edward Bernays

February 27, 2008 at 2:09 PM 1 comment

Today in my Communication Economics class we learned where PR started and who had the initial idea. It was really interesting to hear what a non-PR professional had to say about PR. The beginning seemed quite a bit different than what I have heard from many of my professors from my PR classes.

Edward Bernays, who is also known as “The Father of Public Relations,” began many of the first seen public relations demonstrations. One that he is especially known for is the campaign for cigarettes had set up in 1920. The goal was to bring in more female consumers. His strategy was to show women that it was popular and acceptable for women to smoke. How did he do it? He started a mass demonstration of women parading down the street, all smoking cigarettes.

I found more information on this specific campaign. The women sent out were models and they marched in the New York City parade. At the time, people looked down on women who smoked in public. Edward Bernays called the cigarettes “Freedom torches” signifying the freedom for women to smoke in public. Press reacted by making a headline as follows: “Group of girl puff at cigarettes as a ‘Gesture of Freedom.'”

Another interesting fact about Edward Bernays is that his uncle is Sigmund Freud.

He seems to be the first Public Relations professional to call himself a “Public Relations Counsel.” He was also very adamant about the fact that what he did was very different than advertising. The Museum of Public Relations gave me a lot of the  information I have shown here. They say Bernays is the most important PR Professional of the past.

This man really does seem to be the founder of PR as it is today. The campaigns he did and the ideas he stood for are parallel to what PR professionals today think of as the definition of PR. This Who dunnit seems to be closed. What do you think?


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About Lauren Alkire

I am Lauren Alkire and a PR student at the University of Oregon. I am not sure what I area of PR I am interested in but I am hoping to find out through this blog. I will be looking into all aspects of PR and the different types of PR and hopefully along the way learning a lot about and a lot about me. Follow me on my journey into the PR world!
February 2008
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