Concept Week 6: Edward Bernays’s campaigns and use of psychology in PR.


By: Shelby Schroeder

Our textbook states that Edward Bernays was a pioneer for public relations.  He developed the idea that you should assess the public’s feelings towards an organization or company.  This is how he developed the public relations effort. It began two-way communication in public relations.  Or in other terms, public relations talking to people, and listening to what the people thought.  Bernays was a nephew of Sigmund Freud, and was employed to do psychological research aimed at understanding the connections of women and cigarettes. He found that women saw cigarettes as a symbol.  it represented freedom from their unfair treatment in a man’s world, seeking to be accepted as equal.  He wanted women to be able to smoke.  For a publicity stunt that is still admired today, Bernays had 10 very socially prominent women walk down Fifth Avenue during a parade in NYC where smoking was banned.  It was front page news everywhere.


Example Explanation: In my example Oprah Winfrey give out new Volkswagen Beetles to her entire audience.  Oddly enough she had done this previously in 2004 when she gave out free Pontiac G6s.  Why might a company pay for this? To look good in the customer’s eye and reawaken this dying brand.  However, Oprah failed to even mention the name Pontiac, and the public relations stunt seemed all for nothing. Sales remained dismal.


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