Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to analyze the emergence and development of public relations in Italy between 1945 and 1960. Its aim is to examine the main actors (corporate and political) involved in the process, how they were influenced by the USA and the emergence of professional associations devoted to expanding the field Design/methodology/approach – The paper is based on research conducted in US and Italian archives and libraries. It analyzes primary sources concerning corporations, government agencies and professional associations involved in promoting public relations in post‐war Italy, such as the United States Information Service, Standard Oil (NJ), Fiat, Piaggio, Olivetti, Pirelli, Intersind. Findings – This paper argues that the introduction of public relations in postwar Italy was strongly influenced by US companies and government agencies, which had a considerable impact on the emergence of professional associations. It also looks at the specific Italian definitions of public relations and points out that in Italy the field of public relations emphasized the importance of “style” and culture over that of marketing, and was often carried out by an array of “humanists” (poets, graphic designers, and writers). Originality/value – This paper is one of the first studies about the history of public relations in Italy. It points out the peculiarity of the Italian case, by showing the intersection between the terms “propaganda” and “public relations” in a country that had experienced 20 years of Fascist rule.
Journal of Communication Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 2, 2011
Keywords: Public relations; Corporate communications; Cultural diplomacy; Americanization; Government agencies; Cold War; United States of America; Italy
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