The Engineering of Consent is an essay by Edward Bernays first published in He defines engineering consent as the art of manipulating people. Edward Bernays applied the principles of propaganda to marketing. he developed an approach he dubbed “the engineering of consent. The PR techniques to engineer consent were first developed and propagated by Edward Bernays, one of the most influential PR-practitioners.

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Withdrawing support can also be used to suppress public debates. Political rule becomes a matter of social engineering, and the machinery of propaganda and information management becomes all pervasive”.

As marketing lecturer Craig Smith says: Experience so far with industry-initiated ‘dialogues’ indicates that they bias democratic decision-making. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, and our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of….

Rachelle Galindon rated it liked it Sep 24, Jonathan Chambers rated it it was amazing Jun 15, Thus in WHO did not publish a study it had commissioned which showed a clear link between the marketing practices of the alcohol industry and a rise in alcohol problems in developing countries; WHO’s alcohol programme was subsequently dismantled. If one were to project the democratic way of life in a musical score, its major theme would be the harmony of dissonance”.

Edward Bernays and the Engineering of Consent

It therefore highlights the need for on-going monitoring which is independent of the manufacturers and distributors of breastmilk substitutes. We need your help to elevate the voices of experts, not the shouters. The International Association of Baby Food Manufacturers, however, cast doubt on the validity of the study and attempted to discredit the Interagency Group by labelling it a “self-appointed group”.

Organisations with a high public standing, such as UN agencies and church organisations, should be particularly careful not to let themselves be used for image transfer or to enhance the legitimacy of a criticised company. During the early days of concerted international pressure for industry accountability, ‘red-baiting’ — describing critics as communists — was commonly employed in an attempt to discredit such critics.

They could institute an annual competition for the best ‘corporate camouflage’ of the year similar to existing awards for the ‘top polluter’, for instance. The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association, for example, promoted its voluntary code as a “visible, public declaration of the commitment of the industry to ensuring that its products are marketed responsibly and on the basis of sound scientific information and principles”.


He later recounted in his autobiography:. Enginewring concealment can be called PR laundering.

Engineering Of Consent by Edward L. Bernays

The techniques applied developing the “consumer lifestyle” were also later applied to developing theories in cultural commodification ; which has proven successful in the later 20th century with diffusion of cultures throughout North America to sell ethnic foods and style in popular mainstream culture by removing them from geography and ethnic histories and sanitizing them for a general public.

During the s, similarly, international business organisations stressed their concern for people in developing countries; today, at a time of job insecurity in the West after two decades of structural adjustment and free trade policies, the stress is on the myth that industries are the sole ‘creators of wealth’ which will eventually trickle down to all if markets are deregulated further.

John Margaritis, then director of Ogilvy and Engineeering public relations division, later maintained that the “key interest groups” were “all the groups that had an interest in the boycott”. As a result of such information gathering, public relations professionals have developed data banks on activist and other relevant groups and organisations over the past ten to 15 years.

Engkneering activists know that this is not the case. PR professionals repeatedly stress that a good public image is a key political resource and that legitimacy and credibility is ‘capital’ in modern societies. Issues managers then resort to a mix of four strategies to influence public debates: Ernest Dichter applied what he dubbed “the strategy of desire” for building a “stable society,” by creating for the public a common identity through the products they consumed; again, much like with cultural commodification, where culture has no “identity,” “meaning,” or “history” inherited from previous generations, but rather, is created by the attitudes which are introduced by consumer behaviors and social patterns of the period.

Its underlying purpose, in large part, is to make money. It is currently bernasy that in areas with unsafe water, an artificially-fed brnays is 25 times more likely to die from diarrhoea than a breastfed child. For Dixie cups, Bernays launched a campaign to scare people into thinking that only disposable cups were sanitary.

Even without the threat of libel, the media system as a whole tends to be biased in favour of the interests of the ‘powerful’. Engineering of Consent”, International Communication Gazette 2: It enables a business to better anticipate and adapt to societal demands and trends.


These forces should be analysed in terms of their engineerin on an organization’s image, profit and ability to act.

Given PR practitioners’ vital role in engineering consent to anti-social business practices, action groups could attempt to expose PR practitioners’ violations of the various voluntary codes of conduct instituted by major professional PR associations such as the Public Relations Society of America or the International Public Relations Association.

Groups should do all they can to expose and resist industry attempts to silence critics. Of the complaints submitted by the British Baby Milk Action Coalition in January to the Commission, only five were processed before the Commission’s dissolution.

The research, published in as the report, Cracking the Codeconcluded that: Another common veiling technique is to set up a ‘front’ — “an organisation established to appear as an independent third party [but actually] supporting the individual or organisation in controversy”.

Companies may invite pressure groups to participate in such a ‘social audit’, flattering them into believing that, through cooperation, they will have a serious influence on corporate behaviour. Lists with This Book. Now that TNCs are often regarded as ‘engines of growth’ which need, and even deserve, an unregulated global market to create wealth for everyone, it has become easier to assert that anyone who lobbies for any kind of regulation of industry is responsible for job losses.

The Engineering of Consent – Wikipedia

D6; “Corporate Conintelpro”, HarpersVol. University of Oklahoma Press. For the documentary series episode, see The Century of the Self. Thus ‘dialogues’ with companies or industry organisations are frequently portrayed as the way ahead for citizen groups seeking corporate accountability, rather than ‘confrontational’ strategies such as boycotts.

Be the first to ask a question about Engineering Of Consent. PR executive Bill Cantor defines this as “persuasion which uses a middle man or opinion leader to influence the masses”. The baby food industry, for example, claims that its major interest is in feeding children who would otherwise die. Definitions range from fostering “mutual influence and understanding” between the PR practitioners’ employer and its various ‘publics’, 2 to practising the “gentle art of letting the other fellow have your way”.