Edward Bernays

Created: January 31, 2023
Updated: August 16, 2023

Edward Bernays is the self-styled father of Public Relations and what I’d consider one of the chief #marketing-scumbags.

I have a feeling painting himself the villain was part of his personal #pr

Public Relations came from Propaganda

Bernays was a press agent in WWI for the “Committee on Public Information” (CPI). The CPI kept newspapers updated on events related to the war.

Bernays noticed an opportunity to work for private businesses to create news.

He named the business “The Council on Public Relations” – the first-ever PR firm was born.

Trading off Freud

Bernays was the nephew of Sigmund Freud, and at the time, Freud was hugely popular.

Bernays used his connection and the growing fame of Freud to win campaign contracts and in his execution of them.

Bernays’ Campaigns

  • Torches of Freedom
  • Promoting “Thinness”
  • The Green Ball

Bernays’ Campaign Process

  • Hide his own involvement
  • Promote an aspirational image or ideal
  • Promote people related to that
  • Link the product to the above