The earliest public relations campaign in 1928 when George Washington hill, the head of the ATC (American Tobacco Company) decided he would change the way Americans smoked. The client the ATC had been serving comprised of the larger majority of the male population in America, where as smoking for women was both illegal and thought of as a second class act.(G.H. AMC, 1928)

To fast forward five years after the initial idea Mr. Hill began the first ever public relation campaign, having realised how much more clientele he could tap into if woman smoked he hired influential and influential woman, with the appearance of the more attractive but achievable every day features. This ensured the woman were empowering but were also relatable. What he created was called the ‘freedom’ campaign, it began a movement which entitled woman to expression as a time of great suppression.

Source: Google images 

The reason the campaign differs from advertising as the overall goal was not to sell or create brand awareness, but to change the perception and stigmas of two generations. Changing perception is the sole purpose of the campaign, there is no driving force to sell. The emphasis is on changing lives, social norms and stigmas.

To reiterate the point in a more visual fashion, here is a video illustration the essence of Public relations vs Advertising.


The campaign would not be created today for commercial television use within America or Australia as of 1971 where the ban on commercially advertising any tobacco products. Furthering this the introduction of banning smoking in public areas such as nightclubs, cafes and offices. The only option for this is to look overseas as well as looking to online media which is not regulated. The growing support gathering for a western world ban on smoking makes such a campaign near impossible to pursue in the modern era.



Wilcox, D, Cameron, G, Reber, B, & Shin, J 2013, Think Public Relations, n.p.: 2013 edition., CQUniversity Library Catalogue, EBSCOhost, viewed 20 May 2016. 2016. Torches of Freedom: How the world’s first PR campaign came to be. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 20 May 2016].

Youtube video:


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