As Father’s Day approaches, it’s a good time to remember the legendary figures who shaped modern public relations.
Those who practice the science—and art—of the profession, we rarely think about how it evolved. It’s fascinating to chart the growth of public relations over the last century by looking at those who had the vision to create the industry.
Here are five visionaries behind modern PR:
1. Edward Bernays gets top billing as PR’s “father.”
A nephew of Freud, Edward Bernays (1891-1995) “invented” modern PR and coined the term “public relations.”
He used a blend of psychology and media savvy to influence public opinion. Like other PR men who would follow, he started by doing propaganda work for the U.S. government, in his case during World War 1. In addition to the brilliant but now-dubious “torches of freedom” campaign that advanced social acceptance of women smoking in public, his work convinced Americans to eat bacon for breakfast.