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Edward Bernays
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Promoter
    (November 22, 1891-March 9, 1995)
    Born in Vienna, Austria
    ‘Father of Public Relations’
    Clients included Proctor and Gamble, General Electric, CBS, NBC, Time, American Tobacco, United Fruit, Dodge Motors, Westinghouse Electric, Continental Baking, Calvin Coolidge, Clare Booth Luce and Sam Goldwyn.
    Wrote ‘Crystalizing Public Opinion’ (1923), ‘Propaganda’ (1928), ‘Public Relations’ (1945) and ‘The Engineering of Consent’ (1955)
    Nephew of Sigmund Freud
    Some critics said his greatest public relations feat was promoting his own image as the ultimate PR guru.
    He constantly dropped references to ‘uncle Sigmund’ into his conversations.
    He encouraged women to smoke cigarettes by linking it to the suffrage movement.
    He arranged for doctors to tout cigarettes as soothing for the throat and as an aid in dieting even when he had access to the tobacco industry’s early studies linking smoking and cancer.
    He called his secretaries ‘Little Miss Nitwits.’
    He fired five employees on Christmas Eve.
    When the government of Guatemala began nationalizing the plantations of the United Fruit Company, he launched a propaganda campaign portraying President Jacobo Arbenz as a Communist, laying the groundwork for a CIA-led coup (1954).
    He said that the American public ‘could very easily vote for the wrong man or want the wrong thing, so that they had to be guided from above.’
    Joseph Goebbels consulted his books in crafting Nazi Germany’s campaigns to stigmatize Jews.
    He was married to Doris Fleischman for 58 years.
    He was honored by the NAACP after successfully organizing their first convention in a city in the former Confederacy, Atlanta, Georgia (1920).
    After he was no longer on the American Tobacco Company payroll, he advised Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and other anti-smoking organizations.
    He coined the term ‘public relations’ in a largely successful effort to avoid the stigma of ‘propaganda.’

Credit: C. Fishel


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