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NY public relations pioneer Edelman dies in Ill.
NEW YORK (AP) - Daniel J. Edelman, who built one of the world’s top public relations companies and pioneered celebrity endorsements and media tours, has died at age 92.
Edelman is credited with developing many of the methods now standard in the field, after transforming the firm he started more than 60 years ago with two people into a global marketing force with more than 4,500 employees in 66 offices worldwide.
Richard Edelman, president and CEO of the Edelman firm, said his father was “a marketing and public relations genius, because he really understood that PR could sell brands.”
Daniel Edelman, a New York City native and Columbia University journalism school graduate, worked as a reporter and editor for newspapers in Poughkeepsie, about 75 miles north. He was drafted into the Army during World War II and first honed his public relations skills analyzing German propaganda as a member of a psychological warfare unit.
“I provided information about what they were claiming, so we could answer it with our own broadcasts,” he later recalled.
After the war, he worked as a news writer for CBS radio in New York.
Edelman credited that pairing with launching his marketing creativity: He packaged Torme’s records in an album designed to look like a Toni product, gaining attention from disc jockeys and earning him a job as Toni’s public relations director in Chicago.
By the 1960s, Edelman’s own company was promoting California’s wine industry. Edelman retained movie star Vincent Price as a spokesman and booked him on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson. California wines that day won a tasting test that included entertainer Zsa Zsa Gabor.
“It was a great coup, and a turning point for the California wine industry,” Edelman said later.
Edelman also hired baseball great Nolan Ryan for Advil and activist Gloria Steinem to promote birth control pills.
Then, his son said, he would “put people on the road” _ pushing the concept of media tours using radio and television.
And Daniel Edelman had a sense of humor.
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