Edward L. Bernays
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Carl R. Byoir
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German Tourist Account Controversy

In October of 1933, Carl Byoir & Associates began work on tourist travel promotion for the German Tourist Information Office. The account caused adverse publicity for the firm between 1934-35 and again in 1940 with allegations of Nazi propaganda by U.S. Congressman Wright Patman of Texas.

The client, George Sylvester Viereck, asked for the firm's assistance to increase tourism to Germany, beginning a $108,000 contract with the German Tourist Information Office. The firm accepted a $4,000 cash advance from the German Consul General in New York for distributing press releases to improve Germany's image in the United States, in response to publicity about German anti-semitism. (continued)

Freeport Sulphur Company

After the embarassment of the German tourist account, Carl Byoir & Associates turned to corporate counseling and industrial public relations, leaving behind the infamous experiences with tourism.

The Freeport Sulphur Company was the firm's first big industrial account. It owned a large amount of sulfur deposits in Louisiana and Texas. The company watched in horror as the sulfur severance tax in Louisianna increased more than 200 percent. Carl Byoir was hired to prevent a similar trend in Texas.

Byoir's research revealed that the bill for an increase in the Louisiana sulfur severance tax passed with only one dissenting vote in the Louisiana legislature. Instead of focusing on preventing similiar legislation in Texas, Byoir's executives chose the third-party technique to overturn the Louisiana decision. Overturning the new law set a precedent for the region.

First, the firm organized large groups in Louisiana state who represented enormous segments of public opinion. To involve the various groups, Byoir showed how the tax not only was against the economic interests of the company, but against the economic interests of the state. Louisiana legislators heard from various opinion leaders on the subject, and soon the tax increase was rescinded and lowered. Not long after the appeal, the Texas legislators voted not to tax sulphur any higher than Louisiana.

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