Public Relations short film

July 7, 2015

In the aftermath of the Great Depression, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) faced growing antibusiness sentiment. In 1940, as part of a widespread propaganda campaign to assuage public concerns about industry and rehabilitate big business's reputation, NAM created and distributed the community relations short film, Your Town. The movie, pursuing an integration propaganda strategy, appealed to Americans' individualistic values by portraying industry as a beneficent fellow traveler who was a big individual—a heroic, larger-than-life figure who could make the land profitable and guard the citizenry against evil, antibusiness influences. Applying Vogler's (1997) synthesis of Campbell's (1949Campbell, J. ( 1949 ). The hero with a thousand faces . Princeton, NJ : University Press .) heroic narrative form, this article shows that NAM's portrayal of industry as a hero has continued to resonate with strains of contemporary American thought that (a) sees business as the foundation for societal progress and stability and (b) conceptualizes the corporate entity as a person. Finally, this study finds that, although the language of corporate personhood has been implied in organizational community relations rhetoric for at least six decades, more recent events reveal a public that is more circumspect about the beneficence of the corporate persona.

Traffic stats
Share this Post