Oral Histories

Dan Edelman

Interview Segments on Topic: PR Agency or Corporate PR/Outsourcing

Dan Edelman Biography

Daniel Edelman is founder and chairman of Daniel J. Edelman, Inc., the world’s largest privately held independent firm with 45 offices across the globe.  He began his PR career as director of public relations for the Toni division of Gillette in 1948 where he created the first-ever product media tour, taking 12 sets of identical twins across the country.   The success of the tour gave him the confidence to launch his private firm in Chicago in 1952.

Edelman continued his “big ideas” with other products, defining Edelman, Inc. as the expert in marketing public relations and excelling in new product launches, brand building and setting the standard for the direct marketing industry.


Interviewer: In recent years agencies have grown while other corporate public relations staff have they’ve shrunk as a consequence of cost cutting or mergers as we discussed. Why do you think that these organizations or departments are merging?

Dan Edelman: Well as I said earlier I think it’s up to the individual. Really able and there are many of them. I see them in the PR seminar Arthur Page. There are many outstanding public relations directors who’ve been in corporations for years. And if you have that assignment, I’ve had it for four years at the Toni division of Gillette. You go around. You get to know people and you work with the market research person or the advertising or other departments. A sales department. Production off to the plant. You get to know the manufacturing facility and the people involved. So you whether you are a agency. No agency is usually restricted. I must say if you are corporate you have a wide open opportunity to get yourself into every facet of the company. As I said from Washington to state legislation to the employee relations of all your plants. Its’ wide open. If it’s an agency they usually they’ll hire us for a specific brand or second brand and maybe we’ll both end up corporate reputation. Although usually the fees are more attractive in the marketing area than they are in the corporate area. But we like to represent the corporation if we’re doing the brand.