One of the suggestions of the students was the idea that everyone come to class dressed in black. This was thought by the student to add a “tone of mystery” and a “sense of import” to the class. However, this backfired in the way that it drew so much attention to the difference between the class and the reporter. Ewen even refers to this last suggestion as “the most perilous”, and acknowledges the concerns of one student that the sea of black clothing might too closely resemble a funeral. However, after a lot of discussion, Ewen agrees to this final spin on the class.
Ewen mentioned to Bernays that he was listed as one of the top 100 most influential American…. Bernays responded by saying that you have to be beautiful or Walter Cronkite to be remembered in the minds of Americans.
This is important because it shows that Americans really aren’t interested in PR historians.
Before the class visit, Ewen met with both the reporter and the class separately. Ewen advised the reporter to a) not bring a photographer to class or take any pictures herself, b) that he did not tell the class she would be coming to avoid disruption, and c) to blend in as if she were a student herself.
On the other hand, Ewen told the students exactly who the reporter was, when she was coming, and why. He did this to show an example of true public relations. True public relations are not spontaneous. They are planned, which is exactly how Ewen wanted it to happen, for the means of being reported. This allowed Ewen to teach the class some techniques outlined by Edward Bernays, as well as succeeding in giving the reporter the exact interesting story she was looking for, which is the way public relations works.
In 1993, Ewen began teaching an undergraduate class at Hunter College, City University of New York. Ewen wanted to entitle the class something that would “bring about a response” (21). Putting the first part of “culture” in all caps, (CULT) brought about an interest to students as well as a reporter for New York Newsday. Lynn Palazzi, the reporter, was interested in writing an article about “interesting courses being taught at colleges”. The typography of this course was the main reason the course caught her eye. Ewen explains that his emphasis on CULT was “a reference to the ways that public relations people often define their job as one that requires mesmerizing, more than informing, the public mind.
“If business succeeds in establishing public confidence in its goals, then the public will follow he counsel of business leadership as the means for reaching those goals.
The public relations moral of all of this is: Declare your end or goal in respect of public interest before you begin selling your means for reaching that goal.”
–Claude Robinson, president,
Opinion Research, Inc., 1947