Edward Bernays

Edward Bernays

Overview
Edward Louis Bernays was an Austrian-American pioneer in the field of public relations
Public relations
Public relations is the actions of a corporation, store, government, individual, etc., in promoting goodwill between itself and the public, the community, employees, customers, etc....

 and propaganda
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 along with Ivy Lee
Ivy Lee
Ivy Ledbetter Lee is considered by some to be the founder of modern public relations. The term Public Relations is to be found for the first time in the preface of the 1897 Yearbook of Railway Literature....

, referred to in his obituary
Obituary
An obituary is a news article that reports the recent death of a person, typically along with an account of the person's life and information about the upcoming funeral. In large cities and larger newspapers, obituaries are written only for people considered significant...

 as "the father of public relations". Combining the ideas of Gustave Le Bon
Gustave Le Bon
Gustave Le Bon was a French social psychologist, sociologist, and amateur physicist...

 and Wilfred Trotter
Wilfred Trotter
Wilfred Batten Lewis Trotter, FRS was a British surgeon, a pioneer in neurosurgery. He was also known for his studies on social psychology, most notably for his concept of the herd instinct, which he first outlined in two published papers in 1908, and later in his famous popular work Instincts of...

 on crowd psychology
Crowd psychology
Crowd psychology is a branch of social psychology. Ordinary people can typically gain direct power by acting collectively. Historically, because large groups of people have been able to bring about dramatic and sudden social change in a manner that bypasses established due process, they have also...

 with the psychoanalytical
Psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis is a psychological theory developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud. Psychoanalysis has expanded, been criticized and developed in different directions, mostly by some of Freud's former students, such as Alfred Adler and Carl Gustav...

 ideas of his uncle, Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud , born Sigismund Schlomo Freud , was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis...

.

He felt this manipulation was necessary in society, which he regarded as irrational and dangerous as a result of the 'herd instinct' that Trotter had described.
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Quotations

The three main elements of public relations are practically as old as society: informing people, persuading people, or integrating people with people. Of course, the means and methods of accomplishing these ends have changed as society has changed.

Crystallizing Public Opinion (1923)

This is an age of mass production. In the mass production of materials a broad technique has been developed and applied to their distribution. In this age, too, there must be a technique for the mass distribution of ideas.

"Manipulating Public Opinion", American Journal of Sociology 33 (May, 1928), p. 958–971

The engineering of consent is the very essence of the democratic process, the freedom to persuade and suggest.

"The Engineering of Consent|The Engineering of Consent", Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science No. 250 (March 1947), p. 113; Reprinted in Edward L. Bernays, Howard Walden Cutler, The Engineering of Consent, University of Oklahoma Press, 1955

It is sometimes possible to change the attitudes of millions but impossible to change the attitude of one man.

Quoted in L. Tye The Father of Spin (1998) p. 102

For the same reason I read the National Geographic, I like to see places I will never visit.

Quoted in L. Tye The Father of Spin (1998) p. 102

The best place to find things: the public library.

Quoted in L. Tye The Father of Spin (1998) p. 102

The best defense against propaganda: more propaganda.

Quoted in L. Tye The Father of Spin (1998) p. 102 :Unless otherwise noted, page numbers refer to the 2004 Ig Publishing edition, ISBN 0970312598 (The text begins on p. 35, after an introduction by Mark Crispin Miller.)

In almost every act of our lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons [...] who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world.

p. 37–38
Encyclopedia
Edward Louis Bernays was an Austrian-American pioneer in the field of public relations
Public relations
Public relations is the actions of a corporation, store, government, individual, etc., in promoting goodwill between itself and the public, the community, employees, customers, etc....

 and propaganda
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 along with Ivy Lee
Ivy Lee
Ivy Ledbetter Lee is considered by some to be the founder of modern public relations. The term Public Relations is to be found for the first time in the preface of the 1897 Yearbook of Railway Literature....

, referred to in his obituary
Obituary
An obituary is a news article that reports the recent death of a person, typically along with an account of the person's life and information about the upcoming funeral. In large cities and larger newspapers, obituaries are written only for people considered significant...

 as "the father of public relations". Combining the ideas of Gustave Le Bon
Gustave Le Bon
Gustave Le Bon was a French social psychologist, sociologist, and amateur physicist...

 and Wilfred Trotter
Wilfred Trotter
Wilfred Batten Lewis Trotter, FRS was a British surgeon, a pioneer in neurosurgery. He was also known for his studies on social psychology, most notably for his concept of the herd instinct, which he first outlined in two published papers in 1908, and later in his famous popular work Instincts of...

 on crowd psychology
Crowd psychology
Crowd psychology is a branch of social psychology. Ordinary people can typically gain direct power by acting collectively. Historically, because large groups of people have been able to bring about dramatic and sudden social change in a manner that bypasses established due process, they have also...

 with the psychoanalytical
Psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis is a psychological theory developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud. Psychoanalysis has expanded, been criticized and developed in different directions, mostly by some of Freud's former students, such as Alfred Adler and Carl Gustav...

 ideas of his uncle, Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud , born Sigismund Schlomo Freud , was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis...

.

He felt this manipulation was necessary in society, which he regarded as irrational and dangerous as a result of the 'herd instinct' that Trotter had described. Adam Curtis
Adam Curtis
Adam Curtis is a British BAFTA winning documentarian and a writer, television producer, director and narrator. He works for BBC Current Affairs.-Early life and education:Curtis was born in 1955...

's award-winning 2002 documentary for the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

, The Century of the Self
The Century of the Self
The Century of the Self is an award winning British television documentary film. It focuses on how Sigmund Freud, Anna Freud, and Edward Bernays influenced the way corporations and governments have thought about,‭ dealt with, and controlled ‬people....

, pinpoints Bernays as the originator of modern public relations, and Bernays was named one of the 100 most influential Americans of the 20th century by Life magazine
Life (magazine)
Life generally refers to three American magazines:*A humor and general interest magazine published from 1883 to 1936. Time founder Henry Luce bought the magazine in 1936 solely so that he could acquire the rights to its name....

.

Life and influences


Born 1891 in Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 to Jewish parents, Bernays was a double nephew of psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis is a psychological theory developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud. Psychoanalysis has expanded, been criticized and developed in different directions, mostly by some of Freud's former students, such as Alfred Adler and Carl Gustav...

 pioneer Sigmund Freud. His father was Ely Bernays, brother of Freud's wife Martha Bernays
Martha Bernays
Martha Bernays was the wife of Austrian psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud.Bernays was the second daughter of Emmeline and Berman Bernays. Her paternal grandfather Isaac Bernays was a Chief Rabbi of Hamburg...

. His mother was Freud's sister, Anna. In 1892 his family moved to New York City, where he attended DeWitt Clinton High School
DeWitt Clinton High School
DeWitt Clinton High School is an American high school located in the Bronx, New York City, New York.-History:Clinton opened in 1897 at 60 West 13th Street at the northern end of Greenwich Village under the name of Boys High School, although this Boys High School was not related to the one in Brooklyn...

. In 1912 he graduated from Cornell University
Cornell University
Cornell University is an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York, United States. It is a private land-grant university, receiving annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions...

 with a degree in agriculture, but chose journalism as his first career. He married Doris E. Fleischman in 1922.

Bernays, working for the administration of Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson
Thomas Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States, from 1913 to 1921. A leader of the Progressive Movement, he served as President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910, and then as the Governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913...

 during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 with the Committee on Public Information
Committee on Public Information
The Committee on Public Information, also known as the CPI or the Creel Committee, was an independent agency of the government of the United States created to influence U.S. public opinion regarding American participation in World War I...

, was influential in promoting the idea that America's war efforts were primarily aimed at “bringing democracy to all of Europe". Following the war, he was invited by Woodrow Wilson to attend the Paris Peace Conference
Paris Peace Conference, 1919
The Paris Peace Conference was the meeting of the Allied victors following the end of World War I to set the peace terms for the defeated Central Powers following the armistices of 1918. It took place in Paris in 1919 and involved diplomats from more than 32 countries and nationalities...

 in 1919.

Stunned by the degree to which the democracy slogan had swayed the public both at home and abroad, he wondered whether this propaganda model could be employed during peace time. Due to negative implications surrounding the word propaganda
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 because of its use by the Germans in World War I, he promoted the term "Public Relations". According to the BBC interview with Bernays' daughter Anne
Anne Bernays
Anne Bernays is an American novelist, editor, and teacher.-Life:A graduate of Barnard College, she was managing editor of discovery, a literary magazine, before moving from New York to Cambridge, MA, in 1959 when she began her career as a novelist.Bernays has been published widely in national...

, Bernays felt that the public's democratic judgment was "not to be relied upon" and he feared that "they [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". This "guidance" was interpreted by Anne to mean that her father believed in a sort of "enlightened despotism" ideology.

This thinking was heavily shared and influenced by Walter Lippmann
Walter Lippmann
Walter Lippmann was an American intellectual, writer, reporter, and political commentator famous for being among the first to introduce the concept of Cold War...

, one of the most prominent American political columnists at the time. Bernays and Lippmann sat together on the U.S. Committee on Public Information, and Bernays quotes Lippmann extensively in his seminal work Propaganda
Propaganda (book)
Propaganda is a 1928 book by Edward Bernays. It argued that the scientific manipulation of public opinion was necessary to overcome chaos and conflict in society:-External links:*Stephen Bender. , LewRockwell.com, 2005-02-04...

.

Bernays also drew on the ideas of the French writer Gustave LeBon, the originator of crowd psychology
Crowd psychology
Crowd psychology is a branch of social psychology. Ordinary people can typically gain direct power by acting collectively. Historically, because large groups of people have been able to bring about dramatic and sudden social change in a manner that bypasses established due process, they have also...

, and of Wilfred Trotter
Wilfred Trotter
Wilfred Batten Lewis Trotter, FRS was a British surgeon, a pioneer in neurosurgery. He was also known for his studies on social psychology, most notably for his concept of the herd instinct, which he first outlined in two published papers in 1908, and later in his famous popular work Instincts of...

, who promoted similar ideas in the anglophone world in his book Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War
Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War
Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War is the title of a famous book by Wilfred Trotter. Based on the ideas of Gustave LeBon it was very influential in the development of Group dynamics and Crowd psychology and the Propaganda of Edward Bernays.- Quotes :...

. Bernays refers to these two names in his writings. Trotter, who was a head and neck surgeon at University College Hospital
University College Hospital
University College Hospital is a teaching hospital located in London, United Kingdom. It is part of the University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and is closely associated with University College London ....

, London, read Freud's works, and it was he who introduced Wilfred Bion
Wilfred Bion
Wilfred Ruprecht Bion DSO was an influential British psychoanalyst, who became president of the British Psychoanalytical Society from 1962 to 1965....

, whom he lived and worked with, to Freud's ideas. When Freud fled Vienna for London after the Anschluss
Anschluss
The Anschluss , also known as the ', was the occupation and annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in 1938....

, Trotter became his personal physician, and Wilfred Bion
Wilfred Bion
Wilfred Ruprecht Bion DSO was an influential British psychoanalyst, who became president of the British Psychoanalytical Society from 1962 to 1965....

 and Ernest Jones
Ernest Jones
Alfred Ernest Jones was a British neurologist and psychoanalyst, and Sigmund Freud’s official biographer. Jones was the first English-speaking practitioner of psychoanalysis and became its leading exponent in the English-speaking world where, as President of both the British Psycho-Analytical...

 became key members of the Freudian psychoanalysis movement in England, and would develop the field of Group Dynamics
Group dynamics
Group dynamics refers to a system of behaviors and psychological processes that occur within a social group , or between social groups...

, largely associated with the Tavistock Institute
Tavistock Institute
The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations is a British charity concerned with group behaviour and organisational behaviour. It was launched in 1946, when it separated from the Tavistock Clinic.-History of the Tavistock:...

 where many of Freud's followers worked. Thus ideas of group psychology and psychoanalysis came together in London around World War II.

Bernays' public relations efforts helped to popularize Freud's theories in the United States. Bernays also pioneered the PR
PR
PR commonly stands for* Public relations, a field concerned with maintaining public image* Puerto Rico* Proportional representation, a property of some voting systemsPR, P...

 industry's use of psychology
Psychology
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

 and other social sciences
Social sciences
Social science is the field of study concerned with society. "Social science" is commonly used as an umbrella term to refer to a plurality of fields outside of the natural sciences usually exclusive of the administrative or managerial sciences...

 to design its public persuasion campaigns:
"If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it? The recent practice of propaganda
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 has proved that it is possible, at least up to a certain point and within certain limits."
He called this scientific technique of opinion-molding the 'engineering of consent
The Engineering of Consent
"The Engineering of Consent" is an essay by Edward Bernays first published in 1947. He defines "engineering consent" as the art of manipulating people; specifically, the American public, who are described as "fundamentally irrational people.....

'.

Bernays began his career as Press agent
Press agent
A press agent, or flack, is a professional publicist who acts on behalf of his or her client on all matters involving public relations. Press agents are typically employed by public personalities and organizations such as performers and businesses...

 in 1913, counseling to theaters, concerts and the ballet. In 1917, US President Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson
Thomas Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States, from 1913 to 1921. A leader of the Progressive Movement, he served as President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910, and then as the Governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913...

 engaged George Creel
George Creel
George Creel was an investigative journalist, a politician, and, most famously, the head of the United States Committee on Public Information, a propaganda organization created by President Woodrow Wilson during World War I. He said of himself that "an open mind is not part of my inheritance...

 and realizing one of his ideas, he founded the Committee on Public Information
Committee on Public Information
The Committee on Public Information, also known as the CPI or the Creel Committee, was an independent agency of the government of the United States created to influence U.S. public opinion regarding American participation in World War I...

. Bernays, Carl Byoir and John Price Jones worked together to influence public opinion towards supporting American participation in World War I.

In 1919, he opened an office as Public Relations Counselor in New York. He held the first Public Relations course at New York University
New York University
New York University is a private, nonsectarian research university based in New York City. NYU's main campus is situated in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan...

 in 1923, publishing the first groundbreaking book on public relations entitled Crystallizing Public Opinion that same year.

PR techniques


Bernays was the inventor of some of the most important and influential modern PR techniques. These include the press release and third-party advocacy.

Bernays was the inventor of the press release, following PR man Ivy Lee
Ivy Lee
Ivy Ledbetter Lee is considered by some to be the founder of modern public relations. The term Public Relations is to be found for the first time in the preface of the 1897 Yearbook of Railway Literature....

, who had issued a press release after the 1906 Atlantic City train wreck
1906 Atlantic City train wreck
The 1906 Atlantic City train wreck happened in Atlantic City, New Jersey on Sunday October 28, 1906 when a West Jersey and Seashore Railroad electric train fell off a draw bridge, drowning 53 people.-Accident:...

. One of the most famous campaigns of Bernays was the women's cigarette smoking campaign in 1920s. Bernays helped industry overcome one of the biggest social taboos of the time: women smoking in public (Stuart Ewen, Hunter College). Bernays staged the 1929 Easter parade
Easter parade
The Easter parade is an American cultural event consisting of a festive strolling procession on Easter Sunday. Typically, it is a somewhat informal and unorganized event, with or without religious significance. Persons participating in an Easter parade traditionally dress in new and fashionable...

 in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, showing debutante
Debutante
A débutante is a young lady from an aristocratic or upper class family who has reached the age of maturity, and as a new adult, is introduced to society at a formal "début" presentation. It should not be confused with a Debs...

s holding cigarettes. Bernays created this event as news, which, of course, it wasn’t. Bernays convinced industries that the news, not advertising, was the best medium to carry their message to an unsuspecting public.

One of Bernays' favorite techniques for manipulating public opinion was the indirect use of "third party authorities" to plead his clients' causes. "If you can influence the leaders, either with or without their conscious cooperation, you automatically influence the group which they sway", he said. In order to promote sales of bacon
Bacon
Bacon is a cured meat prepared from a pig. It is first cured using large quantities of salt, either in a brine or in a dry packing; the result is fresh bacon . Fresh bacon may then be further dried for weeks or months in cold air, boiled, or smoked. Fresh and dried bacon must be cooked before eating...

, for example, he conducted a survey of physicians and reported their recommendation that people eat heavy breakfasts. He sent the results of the survey to 5,000 physicians, along with publicity touting bacon and eggs
Full breakfast
A full breakfast is a meal that consists of several courses, traditionally a starter , a main course, tea with milk, toast and marmalade or other preserves. Many variations are possible....

 as a heavy breakfast.

Bernays also drew upon his uncle Sigmund's psychoanalytic
Psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis is a psychological theory developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud. Psychoanalysis has expanded, been criticized and developed in different directions, mostly by some of Freud's former students, such as Alfred Adler and Carl Gustav...

 ideas for the benefit of commerce
Commerce
While business refers to the value-creating activities of an organization for profit, commerce means the whole system of an economy that constitutes an environment for business. The system includes legal, economic, political, social, cultural, and technological systems that are in operation in any...

 in order to promote, by indirection, commodities as diverse as cigarette
Cigarette
A cigarette is a small roll of finely cut tobacco leaves wrapped in a cylinder of thin paper for smoking. The cigarette is ignited at one end and allowed to smoulder; its smoke is inhaled from the other end, which is held in or to the mouth and in some cases a cigarette holder may be used as well...

s, soap
Soap
In chemistry, soap is a salt of a fatty acid.IUPAC. "" Compendium of Chemical Terminology, 2nd ed. . Compiled by A. D. McNaught and A. Wilkinson. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford . XML on-line corrected version: created by M. Nic, J. Jirat, B. Kosata; updates compiled by A. Jenkins. ISBN...

 and books.

In addition to the theories of his uncle, Bernays used those of Ivan Pavlov
Ivan Pavlov
Ivan Petrovich Pavlov was a famous Russian physiologist. Although he made significant contributions to psychology, he was not in fact a psychologist himself but was a mathematician and actually had strong distaste for the field....

.

PR industry historian Scott Cutlip
Scott Cutlip
Scott Munson Cutlip was a pioneer in public relations education....

 describes Bernays as "perhaps the most fabulous and fascinating individual in public relations, a man who was bright, articulate to excess, and most of all, an innovative thinker and philosopher of this vocation that was in its infancy when he opened his office in New York in June 1919."

Philosophy and public relations


Bernays' papers, opened in April of 2010, contain a wealth of information on the founding of the field in the twenties. The Biography of an Idea: Memoirs of Public Relations Counsel Edward L. Bernays (1965) contains an overview of the decade. Many of the essays selected for the Coolidge-Consumerism collection from the Bernays Papers were written as early drafts for The Biography of an Idea.

Bernays, who pursued his calling in New York City 1919-1963, styled himself a "public relations counsel." He had very pronounced views on the differences between what he did and what people in advertising
Advertising
Advertising is a form of communication used to persuade an audience to take some action with respect to products, ideas, or services. Most commonly, the desired result is to drive consumer behavior with respect to a commercial offering, although political and ideological advertising is also common...

 did. A pivotal figure in the orchestration of elaborate corporate advertising campaigns and multi-media consumer spectacles, he nevertheless is among those listed in the acknowledgments section of the seminal government social science study "Recent Social Trends in the United States" (1933).

On a par with Bernays as the most sought-after public relations counsel of the decade was Ivy Ledbetter Lee
Ivy Lee
Ivy Ledbetter Lee is considered by some to be the founder of modern public relations. The term Public Relations is to be found for the first time in the preface of the 1897 Yearbook of Railway Literature....

, among whose chief clients were John D. Rockefeller
John D. Rockefeller
John Davison Rockefeller was an American oil industrialist, investor, and philanthropist. He was the founder of the Standard Oil Company, which dominated the oil industry and was the first great U.S. business trust. Rockefeller revolutionized the petroleum industry and defined the structure of...

, Sr., Bethlehem Steel, Armour & Company, and the Pennsylvania Railroad. Lee is represented in the Coolidge-Consumerism collection by "Publicity: Some of the Things It Is and Is Not" (1925).

The belief that propaganda and news were legitimate tools of his business, and his ability to offer philosophical justifications for these beliefs that ultimately embraced the whole democratic way of life, in Bernays' mind set his work in public relations apart from what ad men did. The Bernays essays "A Public Relations Counsel States His Views" (1927) and "This Business of Propaganda
Propaganda (book)
Propaganda is a 1928 book by Edward Bernays. It argued that the scientific manipulation of public opinion was necessary to overcome chaos and conflict in society:-External links:*Stephen Bender. , LewRockwell.com, 2005-02-04...

" (1928) show that Bernays regarded advertising men as special pleaders, merely paid to persuade people to accept an idea or commodity. The public relations counsel, on the other hand, he saw as an Emersonian-like creator of events that dramatized new concepts and perceptions, and even influenced the actions of leaders and groups in society.

Bernays' vision was of a utopian society in which individuals' dangerous libidinal energies, the psychic and emotional energy associated with instinctual biological drive that Bernays viewed as inherently dangerous given his observation of societies like the Germans under Hitler, could be harnessed and channeled by a corporate elite for economic benefit. Through the use of mass production, big business could fulfill constant craving of the inherently irrational and desire driven masses, simultaneously securing the niche of a mass production economy (even in peacetime), as well as sating the dangerous animal urges that threatened to tear society apart if left unquelled.

Bernays' magisterial, philosophical touch is in evidence in "Manipulating Public Opinion" (1928) when he writes: "This is an age of mass production. In the mass production of materials a broad technique has been developed and applied to their distribution. In this age, too, there must be a technique for the mass distribution of ideas." Yet he recognized the potential danger in so grand a scheme and in "This Business of Propaganda" (1928), as elsewhere, sounded the great caveat to his vision: a public relations counsel "must never accept a retainer or assume a position which puts his duty to the groups he represents above his duty to society."

Propaganda




In Propaganda (1928), Bernays argued that the manipulation of public opinion was a necessary part of democracy:
The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

 society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

 which is the true ruling power of our country. ...We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. ...In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics
Politics
Politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. The term is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil governments, but also applies to institutions, fields, and special interest groups such as the...

 or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons...who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.


Articles in the journals of opinion, such as the one by Marlen Pew, Edward L. Bernays Critiqued as "Young Machiavelli of Our Time", and the debate between Bernays and Everett Dean Martin in Forum, Are We Victims of Propaganda?, depicted Bernays negatively. He and other publicists were often attacked as propagandists and deceptive manipulator
Psychological manipulation
Psychological manipulation is a type of social influence that aims to change the perception or behavior of others through underhanded, deceptive, or even abusive tactics. By advancing the interests of the manipulator, often at the other's expense, such methods could be considered exploitative,...

s, who represented lobby groups against the public interest
Public interest
The public interest refers to the "common well-being" or "general welfare." The public interest is central to policy debates, politics, democracy and the nature of government itself...

 and covertly contrived events that secured coverage as news stories, free of charge, for their clients instead of securing attention for them through paid advertisements.

Bernays' brilliance for promotion in this vein emerges clearly when one reads, in the Bernays Typescript on Publicizing the New Dodge Cars, 1927-1928: "Two Sixes", the story of how he managed to secure newspaper coverage for the radio programs he developed to promote the Dodge Brothers' new six-cylinder cars. The Bernays Typescript on Publicizing the Fashion Industry, 1925-27: "Hats and Stockings" and the Bernays Typescript on Art in the Fashion Industry, 1923-1927, reveal a similar flair for consumer manipulation in the arena of fashion.

Tie-in


As is evident from the description of his campaign to publicize the Dodge cars, Bernays had a particular gift for the marketing strategy called the "tie-up" or "tie-in" — in which one venue or opportunity or occasion for promoting a consumer product, for example, radio advertising, is linked to another, say, newspaper advertising, and even, at times, to a third, say a department store exhibition salesroom featuring the item, and possibly even a fourth, such as an important holiday, for example Thrift Week.

In addition to famous corporate clients, such as Procter & Gamble
Procter & Gamble
Procter & Gamble is a Fortune 500 American multinational corporation headquartered in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio and manufactures a wide range of consumer goods....

, the American Tobacco Company
American Tobacco Company
The American Tobacco Company was a tobacco company founded in 1890 by J. B. Duke through a merger between a number of U.S. tobacco manufacturers including Allen and Ginter and Goodwin & Company...

, Cartier Inc.
Cartier SA
Cartier S.A., commonly known as Cartier , is a French luxury jeweler and watch manufacturer. The corporation carries the name of the Cartier family of jewellers whose control ended in 1964 and who were known for numerous pieces including the "Bestiary" , the diamond necklace created for Bhupinder...

, Best Foods, CBS
CBS
CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...

, the United Fruit Company
United Fruit Company
It had a deep and long-lasting impact on the economic and political development of several Latin American countries. Critics often accused it of exploitative neocolonialism and described it as the archetypal example of the influence of a multinational corporation on the internal politics of the...

, General Electric
General Electric
General Electric Company , or GE, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation incorporated in Schenectady, New York and headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut, United States...

, Dodge Motors
Dodge
Dodge is a United States-based brand of automobiles, minivans, and sport utility vehicles, manufactured and marketed by Chrysler Group LLC in more than 60 different countries and territories worldwide....

, the fluoridationists of the Public Health Service, Knox-Gelatin, and innumerable other big names, Bernays also worked on behalf of many non-profit institutions and organizations. These included, to name just a few, the Committee on Publicity Methods in Social Work (1926–1927), the Jewish Mental Health Society (1928), the Book Publishers Research Institute (1930–1931), the New York Infirmary for Women and Children (1933), the Committee for Consumer Legislation (1934), the Friends of Danish Freedom and Democracy (1940), the Citywide Citizens' Committee on Harlem (1942), and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (1954–1961). For the U.S. Government, he worked for the President's Emergency Committee on Employment (1930–1932) and President Calvin Coolidge
Calvin Coolidge
John Calvin Coolidge, Jr. was the 30th President of the United States . A Republican lawyer from Vermont, Coolidge worked his way up the ladder of Massachusetts state politics, eventually becoming governor of that state...

.

In the 1950s, some of his ideas and vision helped portray India as the most democratic republic in Asia by having the People’s Congress of India adapt a Bill of Rights. Freedom of the Press, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Assembly, and Freedom of Petition were added to the constitution of India.

The amusing Bernays Typescript on Public Relations Work and Politics, 1924: "Breakfast with Coolidge" shows that President Coolidge too was among his clients. Bernays was hired to improve Coolidge's image before the 1924 presidential election.

Another selection from his papers, the Typescript on Publicizing the Physical Culture Industry, 1927: "Bernarr Macfadden
Bernarr Macfadden
Bernarr Macfadden was an influential American proponent of physical culture, a combination of bodybuilding with nutritional and health theories...

", reveals Bernays' opinion of the leader of the physical culture movement. Yet another client, department store visionary Edward A. Filene, was the subject of the Typescript on a Boston Department Store Magnate. Bernays' Typescript on the Importance of Samuel Strauss: "1924 - Private Life" shows that the public relations counsel and his wife were fans of consumerism critic Samuel Strauss.

Campaigns


Some of the campaigns Bernays worked on:
  • 1913 Bernays was hired by the actor Richard Bennett
    Richard Bennett (actor)
    Richard Bennett was an American actor who became a stage and silent screen matinee idol over the early decades of the twentieth century.-Early Life:...

     to protect a play that supported sex education against police interference. Bernays set up a front group called the "Medical Review of Reviews Sociological Fund" (officially concerned with fighting venereal disease) for the purpose of endorsing the play.
  • 1915 Diaghilev's Ballet Russes American tour convinced magazines to write articles that told people that Ballet is fun to watch.
  • 1920 Successfully hosted the first NAACP convention in Atlanta, Georgia. His campaign was considered successful because there was no violence at the convention. His campaign focused on the important contributions of African-Americans to Whites living in the South. He later received an award from the NAACP for his contribution.
  • In the 1920s, working for the American Tobacco Company, he sent a group of young models to march in the New York City parade. He then told the press that a group of women's rights
    Women's rights
    Women's rights are entitlements and freedoms claimed for women and girls of all ages in many societies.In some places these rights are institutionalized or supported by law, local custom, and behaviour, whereas in others they may be ignored or suppressed...

     marchers would light "Torches of Freedom
    Torches of Freedom
    "Torches of Freedom" was a phrase used to encourage women’s smoking during the women’s liberation movement in the United States. Cigarettes were described as symbols of emancipation and equality with men. The term was first used by psychoanalyst A. A...

    ". On his signal, the models lit Lucky Strike cigarettes in front of the eager photographers. The New York Times (1 April 1929) printed: "Group of Girls Puff at Cigarettes as a Gesture of 'Freedom'". This helped to break the taboo against women smoking in public. During this decade he also handled publicity for the NAACP.
  • Bernays once engineered a "pancake breakfast" with vaudevillians for Calvin Coolidge
    Calvin Coolidge
    John Calvin Coolidge, Jr. was the 30th President of the United States . A Republican lawyer from Vermont, Coolidge worked his way up the ladder of Massachusetts state politics, eventually becoming governor of that state...

     in what is widely considered one of the first overt media acts for a president.
  • Bernays used his uncle Sigmund Freud
    Sigmund Freud
    Sigmund Freud , born Sigismund Schlomo Freud , was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis...

    's ideas to help convince the public, among other things, that bacon and eggs was the true all-American breakfast.
  • In October 1929, Bernays was involved in promoting "Light's Golden Jubilee." The event, which spanned across several major cities in the U.S., was designed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Thomas Edison
    Thomas Edison
    Thomas Alva Edison was an American inventor and businessman. He developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. In addition, he created the world’s first industrial...

    's invention of the light-bulb (note: the light-bulb was in fact invented by Joseph Swan
    Joseph Swan
    Sir Joseph Wilson Swan was a British physicist and chemist, most famous for the invention of the incandescent light bulb for which he received the first patent in 1878...

    ). The publicity elements of the Jubilee – including the special issuance of a U.S. postage stamp and Edison's "re-creating" the invention of the light bulb for a nationwide radio audience – provided evidence of Bernays' love for big ideas and "ballyhoo
    Ballyhoo
    The ballyhoo or bally, Hemiramphus brasiliensis, is a baitfish of the halfbeak family . It is similar to the Balao halfbeak . Ballyhoo are frequently used as cut bait and for trolling purposes by saltwater sportsmen.Ballyhoo can also be seen above the waters skimming the surface to escape from...

    ".A follow up event staged in 1954 (and directed for television
    Television
    Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

     by David O. Selznick
    David O. Selznick
    David O. Selznick was an American film producer. He is best known for having produced Gone with the Wind and Rebecca , both of which earned him an Oscar for Best Picture.-Early years:...

    ) was styled "Light's Diamond Jubileee".
  • Bernays attempted to help Venida hair nets company to get women to wear their hair longer so they would use hair nets more. The campaign failed but did get government officials to require hair nets for some jobs.
  • Bernays worked with Procter & Gamble for Ivory soap
    Ivory (soap)
    The name "Ivory" refers to a series of products created by the Procter & Gamble Company , including varieties of a white and mildly fragranced bar soap, that became famous for its pure content and for floating in water. Over the years, the bar soap has been altered into other varieties...

    . The campaign successfully convinced people that Ivory soap was medically superior to other soaps. He also promoted soap through sculpting contests and floating contests because the soap floated better than its competitors.
  • Bernays helped the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa) and other special interest groups to convince the American public that water fluoridation
    Water fluoridation
    Water fluoridation is the controlled addition of fluoride to a public water supply to reduce tooth decay. Fluoridated water has fluoride at a level that is effective for preventing cavities; this can occur naturally or by adding fluoride...

     was safe and beneficial to human health. This was achieved by using the American Dental Association
    American Dental Association
    The American Dental Association is an American professional association established in 1859 which has more than 155,000 members. Based in Chicago, the ADA is the world's largest and oldest national dental association and promotes good oral health to the public while representing the dental...

     in a highly successful media campaign.
  • In the 1930s, his Dixie Cup campaign was designed to convince consumers that only disposable cups were sanitary.
  • In the 1930s, he attempted to convince women that Lucky Strike cigarettes' forest green pack was the most fashionable color. Letters were written to interior and fashion designers, department stores, and prominent women of society pushing green as the new hot color for the season. Balls, gallery exhibitions, and window displays all featured green after Bernays got through with them. The result was that green did indeed become a very hot color for the 1934 season and Lucky Strike kept their pack color and female clientele intact.
  • In 1939 he was the publicity director for the New York World's Fair
  • After his semi-retirement in the 1960s he worked with anti-smoker lawyer John Banzhaf's group, ASH and supported other anti-smoking campaigns.

Overthrow of government of Guatemala


Bernays' most extreme political propaganda activities were said to be conducted on behalf of the multinational corporation
Multinational corporation
A multi national corporation or enterprise , is a corporation or an enterprise that manages production or delivers services in more than one country. It can also be referred to as an international corporation...

 United Fruit Company
United Fruit Company
It had a deep and long-lasting impact on the economic and political development of several Latin American countries. Critics often accused it of exploitative neocolonialism and described it as the archetypal example of the influence of a multinational corporation on the internal politics of the...

 (today's Chiquita Brands International
Chiquita Brands International
Chiquita Brands International Inc. is an American producer and distributor of bananas and other produce, under a variety of subsidiary brand names, collectively known as Chiquita. Other brands include Fresh Express salads, which it purchased from Performance Food Group in 2005...

) and the U.S. government to facilitate the successful overthrow (see Operation PBSUCCESS
Operation PBSUCCESS
The 1954 Guatemalan coup d'état was a covert operation organized by the United States Central Intelligence Agency to overthrow Jacobo Árbenz Guzmán, the democratically-elected President of Guatemala....

) of the democratically elected president of Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

, General Jacobo Arbenz Guzman
Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán
Colonel Jacobo Árbenz Guzmán was a Guatemalan military officer and politician who served as Defense Minister of Guatemala from 1944–1951, and as President of Guatemala from 1951 to 1954....

. Bernays' propaganda (documented in the BBC documentary, The Century of the Self
The Century of the Self
The Century of the Self is an award winning British television documentary film. It focuses on how Sigmund Freud, Anna Freud, and Edward Bernays influenced the way corporations and governments have thought about,‭ dealt with, and controlled ‬people....

), branding Arbenz as communist, was published in major U.S. media. According to a book review by John Stauber
John Stauber
John Stauber is an American writer and political activist who has co-authored five books about propaganda by governments, private interests and the PR industry...

 and Sheldon Rampton
Sheldon Rampton
Sheldon Rampton was the American editor of PR Watch, and is the author of several books that criticize the public relations industry and what he sees as other forms of corporate and government propaganda....

 of Larry Tye
Larry Tye
Larry Tye is an American non-fiction author and journalist best known for his 2009 New York Times bestselling biography , the story of Negro Leagues pitcher Satchel Paige....

's biography of Bernays, The Father of Spin: Edward L. Bernays & The Birth of PR, "the term 'banana republic
Banana republic
In political science, the pejorative term Banana Republic denotes a politically unstable country dependent upon limited primary productions , which is ruled by a plutocracy, a small, self-elected, wealthy group who exploit the country by means of a politico-economic oligarchy...

' actually originated in reference to United Fruit's domination of corrupt governments in Guatemala and other Central American countries."

Recognition and criticism


Much of Bernays' reputation today stems from his persistent public relations campaign to build his own reputation as "America's No. 1 Publicist." During his active years, many of his peers in the industry were offended by Bernays's continuous self-promotion. According to Scott Cutlip
Scott Cutlip
Scott Munson Cutlip was a pioneer in public relations education....

, "Bernays was a brilliant person who had a spectacular career, but, to use an old-fashioned word, he was a braggart."

"When a person would first meet Bernays", says Cutlip, "it would not be long until Uncle Sigmund would be brought into the conversation. His relationship with Freud was always in the forefront of his thinking and his counseling." According to Irwin Ross, another writer, "Bernays liked to think of himself as a kind of psychoanalyst to troubled corporations." In the early 1920s, Bernays arranged an English-language translation of Freud's General Introduction to Psychoanalysis for the US publication. In addition to publicizing Freud's ideas, Bernays used his association with Freud to establish his own reputation as a thinker and theorist—a reputation that was further enhanced when Bernays authored several landmark texts of his own, most notably Crystallizing Public Opinion (1923, ISBN 0-87140-975-5), Propaganda (1928, ISBN 0-8046-1511-X) and "The Engineering of Consent
The Engineering of Consent
"The Engineering of Consent" is an essay by Edward Bernays first published in 1947. He defines "engineering consent" as the art of manipulating people; specifically, the American public, who are described as "fundamentally irrational people.....

" in Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (March 1947).

Bernays defined the profession of "counsel on public relations" as a "practicing social scientist" whose "competence is like that of the industrial engineer, the management engineer, or the investment counselor in their respective fields." To assist clients, PR counselors used "understanding of the behavioral sciences and applying them—sociology, social psychology, anthropology, history, etc." In Propaganda
Propaganda (book)
Propaganda is a 1928 book by Edward Bernays. It argued that the scientific manipulation of public opinion was necessary to overcome chaos and conflict in society:-External links:*Stephen Bender. , LewRockwell.com, 2005-02-04...

, his most important book, Bernays argued that the scientific manipulation of public opinion was necessary to overcome chaos and conflict in society.

Bernays' celebration of propaganda helped define public relations, but it did not win the industry many friends. In a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

, Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 Justice Felix Frankfurter
Felix Frankfurter
Felix Frankfurter was an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.-Early life:Frankfurter was born into a Jewish family on November 15, 1882, in Vienna, Austria, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in Europe. He was the third of six children of Leopold and Emma Frankfurter...

 described Bernays and Ivy Lee
Ivy Lee
Ivy Ledbetter Lee is considered by some to be the founder of modern public relations. The term Public Relations is to be found for the first time in the preface of the 1897 Yearbook of Railway Literature....

 as "professional poisoners of the public mind, exploiters of foolishness, fanaticism and self-interest." And history showed the flaw in Bernays' identification of the "manipulation of the masses" as a natural and necessary feature of a democratic
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

 society. The fascist
Fascism
Fascism is a radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to rejuvenate their nation based on commitment to the national community as an organic entity, in which individuals are bound together in national identity by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood...

 rise to power in Germany demonstrated that propaganda could be used to subvert democracy as easily as it could be used to "resolve conflict."

In his 1965 autobiography, Bernays recalls a dinner at his home in 1933 where
Karl von Wiegand, foreign correspondent of the Hearst newspapers, an old hand at interpreting Europe and just returned from Germany, was telling us about Goebbels
Joseph Goebbels
Paul Joseph Goebbels was a German politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. As one of Adolf Hitler's closest associates and most devout followers, he was known for his zealous oratory and anti-Semitism...

 and his propaganda plans to consolidate Nazi power. Goebbels had shown Wiegand his propaganda library, the best Wiegand had ever seen. Goebbels, said Wiegand, was using my book Crystallizing Public Opinion as a basis for his destructive campaign against the Jews of Germany. This shocked me. ... Obviously the attack on the Jews of Germany was no emotional outburst of the Nazis, but a deliberate, planned campaign.


It is impossible to fundamentally grasp the social, political, economic and cultural developments of the past 100 years without some understanding of Bernays and his professional heirs in the public relations industry. As a result his legacy remains a highly contested one, as evidenced by the 2002 BBC documentary The Century of the Self
The Century of the Self
The Century of the Self is an award winning British television documentary film. It focuses on how Sigmund Freud, Anna Freud, and Edward Bernays influenced the way corporations and governments have thought about,‭ dealt with, and controlled ‬people....

, where he is described as "undemocratic". PR is a 20th-century phenomenon, and Bernays—widely eulogized as the "father of public relations" at the time of his death in 1995—played a major role in defining the industry's philosophy and methods.

Quote



Works

  • The Broadway Anthology (1917, co-author)
  • Crystallizing Public Opinion (1923)
  • A Public Relations Counsel (1927)
  • An Outline of Careers; a practical guide to achievement by thirty-eight eminent Americans (1927)
  • Verdict of public opinion on propaganda (1927)
  • Propaganda
    Propaganda (book)
    Propaganda is a 1928 book by Edward Bernays. It argued that the scientific manipulation of public opinion was necessary to overcome chaos and conflict in society:-External links:*Stephen Bender. , LewRockwell.com, 2005-02-04...

    (1928), Horace Liveright, ISBN 978-0-8046-1511-2
  • This Business of Propaganda (1928)
  • Universities—pathfinders in public opinion (1937)
  • Careers for men; a practical guide to opportunity in business, written by thirty-eight successful Americans (1939)
  • Speak up for democracy; what you can do—a practical plan of action for every American citizen (1940)
  • Future of private enterprise in the post-war world (1942)
  • Democratic leadership in total war (1943)
  • Psychological blueprint for the peace—Canada, U.S.A. (1944)
  • Public relations
    Public relations (book)
    Public Relations is a 1945 book by Edward Bernays.-External links:*Edward Bernays. Public Relations ....

    (1945)
  • Take your place at the peace table (1945)
  • What the British think of us; a study of British hostility to America and Americans and its motivation, with recommendations for improving Anglo-American relations (1950, co-author with his wife Doris Fleischman)
  • Engineering of consent (1955, contributor)
  • Your future in public relations (1961)
  • Biography of an idea: memoirs of public relations counsel (1965)
  • Case for Reappraisal of U.S. Overseas Information Policies and Programs (Special Study) (1970), by Edward L. Bernays and Burnet Hershey (editors)

See also


  • Crowd manipulation
    Crowd manipulation
    Crowd manipulation is the intentional use of techniques based on the principles of crowd psychology to engage, control, or influence the desires of a crowd in order to direct its behavior toward a specific action. This practice is common to politics and business and can facilitate the approval or...

  • Spin (political)
  • Mass psychology
  • Isaac Bernays
    Isaac Bernays
    thumbIsaac Bernays was chief rabbi in Hamburg.-Life:Bernays was born in Mainz. He was the son of Jacob Gera, a boarding house keeper at Mainz, and an elder brother of Adolphus Bernays...

     (1792–1849) his grandfather
  • Anne Bernays
    Anne Bernays
    Anne Bernays is an American novelist, editor, and teacher.-Life:A graduate of Barnard College, she was managing editor of discovery, a literary magazine, before moving from New York to Cambridge, MA, in 1959 when she began her career as a novelist.Bernays has been published widely in national...

    , his daughter
  • Freud family
    Freud family
    The family of Sigmund Freud, the pioneer of psychoanalysis, lived in Austria and Germany until the 1930s before emigrating to England, Canada and the United States...

    , his relatives

External links