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Julie Rudd St. John Fisher College
Blinded By The Light
Heepo, The Space Alien visits Earth
Rochester, NY- What would you do if you had an encounter with an alien? This is a question that doesn’t cross our minds regularly or in my case, at all. While enjoying my night off, I decided to go star gazing. As I was looking above I noticed a very bright star. It started coming closer and closer and I began to think that it was coming straight at me.
As soon as blinked, I realized it wasn’t just a star or a planet or an airplane, but it was a UFO. Once it landed, a strange look alien creature crawled out of it. He introduced himself as Heepo, and he came to earth to discover the world of what we call public relations.
Heepo explained to me why he was so interested in public relations. In his world, they don’t have any thoughts to themselves. Therefore, whatever you are thinking it is automatically put out there. Public relations isn’t possible on his planet. Heepo wanted to know what public relations was and how it’s important in the United States. I answered all of his questions in detail using my WordPress blog. I hope that Heepo will take away from our encounter how amazing public relations is. I gave him two books that I have read during my time in the public relation class at St. John Fisher College. These books include Stuart Ewen’s PR! A Social History of Spin and Tom Kelleher’s Public Relations Online.
Make sure to tell your friends using Twitter or Facebook all about Heepo’s visit. He said he would be back very soon! And if you do see him–let us know!
Ethics and public relations have had an ongoing battle for as long as we can remember. The biggest question, along with when will the world end and how many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop, is if public relation practices are ethical. We are exposed daily to news moments that we think are unplanned, but potentially could be in the hands of a P.R. professional. The truth is that no one is 100% when something is tainted by a public relations person. That is the whole beauty of public relations. If this seems wrong to you, don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Now who is to tell whether something is ethical or not? It is all in the eye of the beholder, according to Kathy Fitzpatrick author of Ethics In Public Relations: Responsible Advocacy. Fitzpatrick believes in access. She claims that “two interests are dominant in free speech jurisprudence in the United States: the speaker’s right to free expression and the listener’s right to receive information important to informed decision making.”. The company is allowed to have complete access to the people. There are no laws expressing that a public relations professional can not reach an audience with certain practices. We must remember that it is the company’s right to say what they want. It is up to us as the consumers to either believe or brush off what is said.
For an example, lets use blk. beverages. Blk. is water that is naturally turned to black due to the addition of fulvic and humic acid. This company has faced a lot of negative feedback due to the fact that health experts claim there is no need for these extras. Could the additive of these two acids be all in the works of a public relation scheme?
It’s all up to you whether you want to believe public relations is an ethical practice or not. As the old saying goes, some things are just better left unsaid.
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.