Bernays often indulged in PR “stunts,” a strategy that I’ve vociferously warned clients not to do. How hard is it to get a PR stunt on the Fox 5 Minute? What long-term value do you get out of that? How many people are going to think about your product or company from a 15-second blip on TV and radio, and maybe a photo online and in the next day’s newspaper.
Yet, like my recent post considering what Thomas Edison would be doing if he were alive and inventing today, I love playing “what if” and thinking about how various historical figures would act/react in modern situations.
Without further ado, here’s what I think Bernays would be doing.
1. Social media – Duh, you knew I was going to say that. Bernays would have loved Ashton Kucher’s race to 1 million followers. Because, regardless of what you think of Kutchner, he now has a media platform. An extremely valuable platform as detailed by Jason Calacanis.
I wager that Bernays would have cheered Moonfruit’s Macbook giveaway that made it to the top of Twitter trending topics.
2. Influencer marketing – whether it’s P&G pitching mommy blogs, or software companies targeting key vertical bloggers, Bernays would recognize the impact of influencer marketing on publicizing a product or shifting the conversation both online and off.
3. Politics – Unfortunately, Bernays used his skills at shifting public opinion for some questionable political causes, namely the United States – in conjunction with the United Fruit Company – overthrowing the democratically elected government of Guatemala. I think Bernays would be fascinated and a participant in today’s fast-paced political news cycle.
What do you think Edward Bernays would be doing if he were practicing PR now?