Daniel J. Edelman, the legend behind Edelman PR, world’s most powerful PR company, died at the hospital today of heart failure. He was 92 years old. The announcement that the great PR man passed away was made this morning by his wife, Ruth.
Like many great men, Daniel J. Edelman started out small, founding his PR company in a small office in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart on October 1, 1952. Since, the company grew to be today the world’s largest public relations firm, with 65 offices and more than 4,400 employees worldwide, as well as affiliates in more than 30 cities. This is the legacy left behind by a great man: outstanding professional, colleague, husband and father. He will be missed by his coworkers, by those whose life he touched in so many different ways, by his family, and even by those who never met him.
Edelman leaves behind a great legacy. During his career, he helped build leading brands like Sara Lee and KFC. He was known as a staunch advocate of his profession, and established high standards and a code of ethical practices.
His introduction to public relations happened in 1942, when he was drafted into the Army. He was assigned to the Intelligence unit of the 100th Infantry Division, which included the Division’s PR operation. Among his tasks in this unit, Edelman had to write an analysis of Germany propaganda.
After this, Edelman returned to civilian life, and begun his official PR career as a publicist at Musicraft Records.
It was Mel Torme and the singer’s 15-minute weekly radio show sponsored by the home hair car manufacture known as Tony Company, Edelman always said, that ultimately changed his life. In 1947, Edelman was transferred to Chicago to become PR Director of Toni. After several successful campaigns for Toni, Edelman decided to start his own public relations company. Thus the legend was born. The rest, is PR history:
What can one say, when a life so full comes to an end? What can one say to ease the pain of Richard Edelman, the son who continues his father legacy since 1996? Perhaps Leonardo da Vinci’s wisdom below the image above? Words fail even the most skilled orators and writers in times like these. Words fail me too: they melt in January’s crisp air, fluttering like a butterfly, and all I can think of is: may God rest his soul.
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