The beginnings of public relations dates way back before I was born in 1992–which seems pretty obvious if you know anything about the complexity of PR. According to a study done on The Evolution of Public Relations by Dr. Corinne Weisgerber’s Introduction to Public Relations class at St. Edwards University, the roots of this subject emerged as early as 106 B.C. when Cicero Pro Murena introduced the idea of rhetoric (the art of using language to appeal to one’s ethos, pathos, and logos). But since this is a blog and not a history lesson, I’d like to give you my opinion on where I would have liked to work in an era of PR history, had I had the opportunity to do so before I was born.
For me, the 1980’s seems like it would have been a fun period to work in because Public Relations was such an exciting field–the idea of PR was fairly new to the public and every company wanted to use it to get on top. The extremely successful company Ogilvy and Manther Public Relations Inc. (O&MPR) launched their public relations branch in September of 1980 and “by 1990, Ogilvy PR Group, with $62 million in revenues and 759 employees, was the fourth largest company in the industry” (Ogilvy PR Worldwide 2011). I mean how awesome would it have been to be a part of this company and both experience and revel in this success? After all, the company is currently a worldwide leader in PR, operating in over seventy international markets. In addition, the Coca Cola and Pepsi wars began in the1980’s as the two companies battled to be on top; the choice of drinking Cola of Pepsi became an important lifestyle decision (see video clip below).
But these are just two of the ways this era seemed to define Public Relations. Others include the Exxon Valdez Oil spill of 1989, which was actually a PR crisis for lack of communication in response to this environmental disaster; the first airing of the Oprah Winfrey Show in 1986, which became a PR phenomenon for the “Oprah Effect” meaning that anyone who watched the show became an instant believer; the first registered .com website in 1985 by Symbolics; and so many more. Seriously, who wouldn’t have wanted to work in this amazing era of Public Relations?