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Economist

Public relations: Dan the (Not Mad) Man

January 17, 2013

He set off a permanent wave of PR
FOR every reporter employed in America, around six people work in public relations: a few too many, some might think. But it was not like that when Daniel Edelman launched his PR firm in Chicago in 1952, a time when the job mostly involved writing speeches for the chief executive, putting out press releases and taking journalists to lunch.Mr Edelman, who died on January 15th, aged 92, was a pioneer, introducing innovations that reflected his bigger vision of PR as a more effective way to market a company?s reputation and brands than its fancier (and costlier) big brother, advertising. His role in creating the modern PR business, which spans everything from crisis management to political lobbying, is described in a new book, ?Edelman and the Rise of Public Relations?, by Franz Wisner.Mr Edelman cut his teeth with a publicity stunt promoting the then revolutionary Toni home-perm kits. He secured front-page puffs by hiring sets of twins, one sporting a Toni perm, the other not. They travelled around posing for photos kissing local big shots, and asking: ?Which Twin has the Toni?? Later, as well as...

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