Byoir left Cuba in 1932 to stay alive both professionally and physically. His association with Machado was not positively viewed by the local residents who saw Byoir was a servant to the dictator who crushed independence. With a handful of prestigious clients, and barely escaping an attempt on his life, he relocated to New York City.
While handling the Cuban tourist account, Byoir recruited Stuart Hall of the Loomis, Beavis and Hall advertising agency; Gerry Swineheart, publicity manager for West Palm Beach, Florida; Charles Canny, a newspaper reporter; and Carl Dickey, a Doremus account executive. Their New York office was opened at 10 East 40th Street. (continued)
Byoir disliked how President Herbert Hoover attempted to restart the economy during the Depression. So the pr pioneer went down to the White House, armed with an idea for a national campaign.
With the President's blessing but no government funding, Byoir declared "War Against Depression." The goals of the campaign were to encourage businesses to hire more people and use public opinion as a catalyst for change.
Byoir's tactics included the selection of well-known national organizations to lend prestige to the campaign. The American Federation of Labor, Association of National Advertisers, American Legion, and the American Legion Auxiliary all nominated representatives to serve on Byoir's committee.
Byoir quickly issued a notice to national media indicating President Hoover had put certain organizations under orders to assist in stimulating the economy by finding one million jobs for the unemployed. On February 15, 1932, the War Against Depression began.
The first few weeks saw a slight increase in employment, but the campaign slowly began to fail. Byoir and his committee closed shop having secured only a few thousand jobs. From this campaign, Byoir learned that public relations is not always the remedy to society's problems, and that simplistic solutions cannot solve them either. Despite the campaign's failure, Byoir was becoming more visible to the public.
Carl Byoir & Associates won the Henry L. Doherty account, beating out many top firms of that time. Doherty was a shady and shrewd businessman who made most of his money through fast deals during The Great Depression. Byoir had worked with Doherty on a number of tourist projects, but looked for the opportunity to overhaul public perception of Doherty.
One afternoon, a call came from Keith Morgan who worked for President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the Warm Springs Infantile Paralysis Foundation. Morgan requested a donation from Byoir's multi-millionaire client. Byoir saw this as a chance to rebuild his client's image, and a public relations campaign was born.
Morgan agreed to speak with Doherty directly, and when Doherty asked why he should contribute to the President's favorite charity Morgan replied, "Because it might get an old pirate like you into heaven." Doherty liked Morgan's audacity and agreed to meet with the President to discuss the campaign. (continued)