When discussing public relations, it is hard not to mention the name Edward Bernays. He was considered to be the “Father of Public Relations” for reasons such as creating different methods and philosophies that we still use today. Throughout his 103 years of life, he was involved with multiple campaigns that influenced the world of public relations. Without Bernays, the public relations field would not be what it is.
One of the highlights of Bernays career could be the work that he provided for Proctor and Gamble (P&G). He was involved with the company for more than thirty years. Some of the methods he used included community relations, crisis communications, public affairs, and media campaigns to advance P&G’s position.
“Coincidence of public and private interest, of the supremacy of propaganda of the deed over the propaganda of the work, of the desirability of a large corporation assuming constructive leadership in the community.” -Edward Bernays
In an innovative move, P&G hired Bernays in 1923 to promote Ivory soap. He first set out to see if America was interested in a soap like Ivory, a plain white non-perfumed soap. In an unheard of move, he surveyed consumers and found that most preferred such a soap (plain, white, and non-perfumed). At the time, Ivory was the only soap with those features on the market. The results were published in newspapers providing plenty of free positive promotion for P&G. He involved the company with other events to receive more media coverage. These events include a soap yacht race in Central Park, soap carving contests for school-aged children, and plenty of others.
Like said above, Bernays created a contest for school children to carve sculptures out of the soap. For 25 years, the National Soap Sculpture Competition inspired millions of school children to find “creative and artistic expression… Children, the enemies of soap, would be conditioned to enjoy using Ivory.” Sculptures were displayed in many places giving P&G and Ivory soap even more easy media coverage therefore, P&G made this an annual event. Bernays innovative work with Ivory soap created a product base which lasted and, to this day, is still a leading soap.