Become An Expert In Public Relations!

Try Free Publicity Risk-Free!

E-mail the Publicity Insider

The Public Relations Hall of FamePR Hall of Fame - Publicitas et Veritas

Welcome one and all to the hallowed halls of the Public Relations Hall of Fame. Membership is limited to those individuals or companies who used their creativity and knowledge of mass communications and public relations to permanently imprint their product or company in the minds of the public.

All those who wish to learn from the great masters how to publicize their own companies are welcome.

After visiting the Public Relations Hall of Fame, please feel free to submit your own nominees to the Public Relations Hall of Fame selection committee at

Outstanding Public Relations Hall of Fame nominations will be featured in Free Publicity, the Newsletter for PR-Hungry Businesses.

Step right this way…

The Public Relations Hall of Fame's 
First Class of Inductees:

DeBeers & the Engagement Ring
FBI - 10 Most Wanted
The Miss America Pageant
Phineas Taylor (P.T.) Barnum

Pillsbury Bake-Off
The Goodyear Blimp
Taco Bell Mir Space Station
Oscar Mayer Weinermobile
National Discount Broker's Duck Quack


Public Relations Hall of Fame: DeBeers

Why A Diamond is Forever

DeBeers & the Engagement Ring

After discovering huge amounts of diamonds in South Africa, DeBeers was faced with a dilemma: how to create demand by changing the public's view of diamonds as jewels only for aristocrats not the masses.

The company's brilliant strategy involved a well-orchestrated public relations campaign designed to strengthen the association in the public's mind of diamonds with romance. Since "young men buy over 90% of all engagement rings" it was crucial to reach them with a message: diamonds were a gift of love -- the larger and finer the diamond, the greater the expression of love. Similarly, young women had to be encouraged to view diamonds as an integral part of any romantic courtship.

To implement this plan, DeBeers decided to give movie idols, the paragons of romance for the mass audience, diamonds to use as their symbols of indestructible love. DeBeers placed stories in key magazines and newspapers stressing the size of diamonds that celebrities presented to their loved ones, and photographs reinforcing the link between diamonds and romance. They even incorporated Queen Elizabeth, who went on a well-publicized trip to several South African diamond mines, and accepted a diamond from DeBeers.

DeBeers also established a "Diamond Information Center" that placed a stamp of quasi-authority on the flood of "historical" data and "news" it released to the media.

The results? Within 3 years, the sale of diamonds had increased by 55 percent. More importantly, public relations established that the engagement diamond ring is truly forever.

Go to top

Public Relations Hall of Fame: Miss America

Here She Comes, a Publicity Event That Became an American Tradition

The Miss America Pageant (1921-present)


The Miss America Pageant began in 1921 as an East Coast business proposition featuring local women to attract commerce and tourists to Atlantic City. The public relations event was a way to extend the slow summer season after Labor Day, growing quickly in popularity as thousands of revelers attended the spectacular weeklong series of annual parties, parades, fireworks shows, dances, and the all-important competition. It also grew as an institution that reflected some of the nation's most powerfully held attitudes towards what it meant to be an American woman.

From its humble beginning as a glorified public relations stunt, The Miss America Pageant has become an eagerly awaited yearly landmark on the American landscape. Its initial purpose still stands true as thousands descend upon Atlantic City, and millions watch the pageant on television.

Go to top

Public Relations Hall of Fame: Pillsbury Bake-Off

Cooking Up Media Coverage

Pillsbury Bake-Off (1949-present)


The Pillsbury Bake-Off was launched in 1949 as a public relations event designed to encourage homemakers to come up with new original recipes using Pillsbury products. The inaugural contest began as the "Grand National Recipe and Baking Contest," and utilized the drawing power of Eleanor Roosevelt as one of the judges. Planned as a one-time public relations event, the Pillsbury Bake-Off struck such a positive homespun chord that it has become an American institution. The phrase "bake-off" has become so popular that it is part of the American vernacular.

Millions of dollars of free publicity are generated each year through food and lifestyle columnists as the program announces: a call for nominated new recipes, the naming of the 100 finalists, recipes of the finalists, coverage of the actual event, and the crowning of the grand prize winner and their recipe. The Bake-Off also has a popular website, where recipes (using Pillsbury products) are traded. The contest has spawned a successful book highlighting Bake-Off history and winning recipes from the last half century.

To ensure the next generation of Pillsbury buyers and Bake-Off contestants, the company has recently launched its first ever Kidsí Bake-Off Contest. In addition, men have slowly been added to the Bake-Off tradition -- in 1996 the winner of the $1 million grand prize was a man.

What recipe is the current champ? Cream Cheese Brownie Pie.

Go to top

Public Relations Hall of Fame:Taco Bell

Yo Quiero Tons of Free Publicity

Taco Bell Mir Space Station Promotion
March 23, 2001


With the eyes of the world (media and civilian) focused on the crash landing of the Soviet Mir space station, the Taco Bell company had an inspired public relations idea designed to "piggy-back" on the attention of the splashdown.

Taco Bell set up a 40-by-40 foot vinyl target -- emblazoned with the company's logo and the words ''Free Taco Here!'' -- 10 miles off the coast of Australia. In the extremely unlikely event that Mir hit the target, the company promised free tacos to all 281 million Americans.

Space-travel experts said the prospects of the debris hitting the mark were slim to none. Taco Bell added relevance to the public relations stunt by claiming to have taken out an insurance policy.

A minute-by-minute countdown of Mir's descent and a photo of the floating target were anxiously seen by millions of hungry websurfers on the Taco Bell site.

The result? Millions of dollars of free publicity on major news programs and media outlets around the world. Their website could hardly handle the traffic.

Go to top

Public Relations Hall of Fame: NDB

Viral Public Relations to Quack About

National Discount Broker's Duck Quack

Nearly half a million people a day called National Discount Brokers' voice mail just to hear the sound of a duck quacking.

Callers dialed into the toll-free number and heard an automated reception that began with typical corporate prompts such as: "To request a new account kit, press two." But the seventh option piqued the interest of people around the world. "If you would like to hear a duck quack, press seven," the automated attendant said.

At its peak, nearly 500,000 people called the line to hear the sound of the duck, tying up the company's phone system in the process.

NDB has used a mallard as its mascot for more than 60 years, but it never thought option seven would garner so much attention.

Word spread quickly, passed along by the more than 270,000 customers who regularly called the company's toll-free line, reaching across North America through e-mail. According to NDB, "We didn't do anything - we just left it on our voice mail. The Internet took care of the rest."

The number of calls to the 800 number cost the company about $8,000 a day, but the money well spent. "The exposure is the equivalent of 100 television commercials," NDB said. "And that would cost us millions." NDB saw a 75% increase in new customers during the duck quack's heyday and the feedback has been almost entirely positive.

"We've got e-mails from all over," said NDB, adding that the number works in North America only. "People just love it. We're supposed to be a stiff, Wall Street company, but we've gotten calls telling us that every company should have an option seven."

Go to top

Public Relations Hall of Fame: FBI 10 Most Wanted

Public Relations
Always Gets Its Man

FBI - 10 Most Wanted 1950 - present

Back in 1949, a reporter from the International News Service (now United Press International) asked the FBI to name the toughest of their most-wanted fugitives. After the story generated a ton of positive publicity, former Director J. Edgar Hoover decided to use the power of public relations to capture America's toughest outlaws and drumbeat the successful efforts of the FBI. Thus, the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted Fugitives" Program was born.

How successful has the program been? Of the 458 names that have appeared on the list since its inception, 429 have been apprehended, including 137 nabbed as a direct result of tips from the public. The "List" has been immortalized in numerous movies, the popular Dick Tracy comic strip, the ABC radio network program, F.B.I., This Week; and the Fox network TV show, America's Most Wanted: America Fights Back.

Go to top

Public Relations Hall of Fame: P.T. Barnum

Step Right Up, Folks,  and Learn Some
Lessons from the Public Relations Master


Phineas Taylor (P.T.) Barnum (1810-1891)

"I am indebted to the press of the United States for almost every dollar which I possess..."
P.T. Barnum

Named by Life Magazine as one of the top 100 most important people of the millennium, the "the patron saint of promoters" understanding and creative use of the power of publicity earned his place in the Public Relations Hall of Fame.

Entrepreneur, master showman, million-selling book author, and politician, Barnum has indelibly left his mark. He is credited with coining the phrases, "throw your hat in the ring", "let's get the show on the road," "rain or shine," and "the greatest show on earth". Ironically, the phrase he's most associated with, "there's a sucker born every minute" was actually said by a rival.

In an age when there were no radios, motion pictures, or Disney, and few other means of entertainment, P.T. Barnum filled the void with his colorful museum and circus. Utilizing a combination of striking, provocative ads and creative public relations, Barnum realized the value of working with the press -- "there was only one liquid a man could use in excessive quantities without being swallowed up by it, and that was printers ink."

Here are some examples of Barnum's public relations efforts that a more innocent America ate up:

  • He had an elephant plow the fields on his property. Why? His land faced a busy rail line that carried bored travelers into New York City. Barnum knew an elephant would grab their attention and provide an unforgettable publicity stunt. "Newspaper reporters came from far and near, and wrote glowing accounts of the elephantine performances," Barnum wrote.
  • To gather crowds outside his museum, he publicized "Free Music for the Millions," a band that played music on the balcony. However, Barnum confessed to his ulterior motives, "I took pains to select and maintain the poorest band I could find -- one whose discordant notes would drive the crowd into the Museum, out of the earshot of my orchestra."
  • He made sure to honor and celebrate special holidays. On St. Patrick's Day, Barnum featured Irish performers, a model of Dublin and other Irish events.
  • When a man walked into Barnum's office looking for work, he gave the man minimal wages and asked him to take a few bricks out to the corner. The man was instructed to place the bricks down . . . then exchange them continuously. Naturally, a large crowd of curious onlookers gathered. Every hour, the "brick man" would enter Barnum's Museum, along with several curious patrons. Barnum claimed this stunt had the pure elements of his promotional philosophy: "it employed novelty, demonstrated ingenuity, and achieved free publicity".

He practically invented the idea of advance public relations. Weeks before his show entered a new town, Barnum would send a special train coach designed to attract crowds and build anticipation of his upcoming show's arrival. He employed three public relations agents who would plant stories in local papers and provide a behind-the-scenes preview for local journalists. Barnum created and circulated the Advance Courier, a bogus illustrated newspaper designed to intrigue the public. The "articles" were written almost entirely by Barnum himself. The highlight of the newspaper was a two-page spread of a 33-point list of why "every man, woman and child" in America had to come see the "Greatest Show on Earth." When his show arrived in town, he'd attract attention with a huge parade, featuring his star attraction, Jumbo the Elephant.

Go to top

Public Relations Hall of Fame: Goodyear Blimp

A Floating PR Machine That's Not Full of Hot Air

The Goodyear Blimp (1925-present)

The Blimp tradition began in 1925 when Goodyear built its first helium-filled public relations airship, the Pilgrim. The tire company painted its name on the side and began barnstorming the United States. Today, these graceful giants log over 400,000 air miles per year traveling across the United States, Europe, and South America as Goodyear's Global "Aerial Ambassadors."

The Goodyear Blimp has become one of the most instantly recognizable symbols of any company. The formula? According to Goodyear, when they cover a sporting event, "We don't charge for anything we do. We have our own camera gear and camera people. If we cover your event, in exchange, you mention us and show a shot of the blimp."

In every town the blimp visits, young and old look up in the sky and smile in recognition.

The blimp staff makes sure to maximize exposure by giving televised rides to the media. Other rides are given to local Goodyear dealership owners, large corporate customers, investors, contest winners, celebrities and political dignitaries.

Goodyear estimates that more than 60 million people see its three U.S.-based blimps every year.

Go to top

Public Relations Hall of Fame: Oscar Mayer Weinermobile

Hold the Relish, Keep the Publicity

Oscar Mayer Weinermobile

The Oscar Mayer Weinermobile was designed in 1936 as a rolling good-will ambassador for the company and its most famous product. The world's most recognized productmobile is "55 hot dogs long, 18 hot dogs wide and 25 hot dogs high," and travels 365 days a year to large cities and small towns alike.

Attending everything from the Super Bowl and Kentucky Derby to parades and grocery store grand openings, the Weinermobile public relations juggernaut attracts kids and their parents to the vehicle where they're invited to spin the "WeinerWheel" for giveaways. All visitors are given instant photos of themselves with the car.

Prior to entering a new town, the Weinermobile staff, called "Hotdoggers" alert the local media about their impending arrival and arrange interviews and photo opportunities.

Over the years, the Weinermobile public relations tour has generated millions of media mentions including appearances on The Tonight Show, Oprah Winfrey, and coverage in Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Oscar Mayer estimates that 90% of America has seen the Weinermobile.

Scale models of the Weinermobile, have taken a place along with the Batmobile as collectors' favorites.

Go to top

Free Publicity, The Newsletter For PR Hungry Businesses: Secure Order Page

Your First Step To Success... | The Four Questions You Need To Ask Me | Free Report: Insider Secret
Free Publicity Insider E-zine | Hot, Fresh Press Releases - Daily! | How To Write A Great Pitch Letter
How To Write A Great Press Release | Public Relations Message Board | Bill's Inner Circle
Who Is This Bill Stoller Guy? | Public Relations Hall Of Fame | Frequently Asked PR Questions
Bill's Must Have Books | Bill's Hand-Picked Publicity Links | Sample Copy Of Free Publicity

To order a subscription to Free Publicity, The Newsletter For PR-Hungry Businesses
Call (201) 224-3737 or Fax (201) 595-0524 or Email: 
or go to the secure online order form by clicking


Recommend This Page To A Friend | Link To Publicity Insider !

Privacy Statement | Disclaimer/Copyright 2014
Stoller and Bard Communications
6 Horizon Road - Suite 1705
Fort Lee, NJ 07024