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Biography of an Idea: The Founding Principles of Public Relations by Edward L. Bernays

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chapter 43

GIANT MOTORS PURR

As it was for most business, 1932 was also a bad year for General Motors. The company, although it sold over $1,000,000,000 worth of cars at retail, saw its profits plunge from $115,220,507 in 1931 to $164,979 in 1932. General Motors still had 134,000 employees, 20,000 dealers and 296,000 stockholders. Its net sales had dropped 46.6 per cent, but business went on as usual.

In December, Paul Garrett, newly appointed public relations director of General Motors, asked me to promote General Motors in Connection with the January auto show at Grand Central Palace in New York. He told me General Motors could not afford my regular fee. I agreed to $5,000.

As I entered the directors’ room at company headquarters at 1775 Broadway, ...

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