Who / what do you trust? Let’s explore the origins of public relations and the power of persuasion in shaping public opinion. I read this book recently and it shaped the way i look at information and data. Propaganda Edward Bernays
🗣️ The father of PR: Edward Bernays, a nephew of Sigmund Freud, is considered the father of public relations. He applied Freud's insights on human psychology to develop persuasive communication techniques.
🎭Engineering consent: Bernays believed that by understanding human desires and motivations, one could influence public opinion and behavior. He called this process "engineering consent.
📰 Manipulating the masses: Bernays argued that a small group of elites could manipulate the thoughts and actions of the masses through carefully crafted messages and symbols.
📺 The power of media: Bernays recognized that mass media, such as newspapers, radio, and later television, were instrumental in disseminating propaganda and shaping public opinion
💼 Corporate influence: Bernays' ideas were widely adopted by corporations to promote their products and services. He helped create modern advertising and brand management techniques.
🏛️ Political persuasion: Bernays' principles have also been used by politicians and governments to influence public opinion and gain support for policies, both domestically and internationally.
⚖️ Balancing ethics and persuasion: While Bernays' techniques can be used for manipulation, they can also be employed ethically to promote genuine causes and beneficial ideas
📢 Public opinion as a force: Bernays emphasized the importance of understanding and engaging with public opinion in a democratic society. He saw public opinion as a powerful force that could shape the course of history.
Here are some of Bernays campaign’s 🚬 Torches of Freedom: Bernays famously rebranded cigarettes as "Torches of Freedom" for women during the 1929 Easter Parade in New York. By associating smoking with women's rights, he successfully increased the social acceptance of female smoking.
🥞 Pancake Breakfast: Bernays helped promote a pancake breakfast for a hotel chain by encouraging chefs to create "Golden Pancakes" using the hotel's signature pancake mix. He linked the idea of pancakes with luxury and indulgence, boosting sales and popularity.
💧 Ivory Soap Sculpture Contests: Bernays launched a national soap sculpture contest for children using Procter & Gamble's Ivory Soap. The contest engaged young minds, generated publicity, and increased Ivory Soap's brand recognition
🎼 Light's Golden Jubilee: In 1929, Bernays orchestrated a massive celebration of the 50th anniversary of Thomas Edison's invention of the electric light. The event boosted General Electric's image and promoted the widespread adoption of electricity.
Although written in 1928, Bernays' "Propaganda" remains relevant today. The principles he outlined continue to influence modern PR, advertising, and political communication and books like influence by Robert Cialdini. Who/what do you trust?