Carl Byoir & Associate's success with the Freeport Sulphur Company brought the firma new client--The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company (A&P). Adding A&P to the firm's portfolio not only illustrated the growing power of public relations, but brought about more litigation.
At the depth of the Depression, governments sought ways to invent new revenue for depleted treasuries. A movement to tax chain stores emerged, and A&P was in danger. John and George Hartford, brothers and owners of A&P said, "If the people of the United States like our stores so little that they are willing to tax us out of business, that is their affair. We will shut up our shop." (continued)
Fortunemagazine called the bitter public opinon battle between the Pennsylvania truckers and the Eastern Railroads "The Railroad-Trucker's Brawl." Truckers in Pennsylvania wanted to raise the weight limit on trucks to 60,000 pounds to expand their growing businesses. Eastern Railroads hired Byoir's firm to mount a conterstrike ultimately to keep truckers from stealing railroad clients.
Again beating out Hill & Knowlton for the account, Carl Byoir & Associates worked with Eastern Railroad's vice president for public relations, and external counsel, T.J. Ross of T.J. Ross & Associates. Even though it got into the case late, Carl Byoir & Associates mastered an impressive campaign.
Byoir created unfavorable ads about truckers and generated anti-truck literature to reporters. He also sent an advance copy of Maryland's State Road Commission's test which reported the negative effects of differing truck axles on highways. Almost overnight the bill was vetoed.
Upset over the verdict, the truckers hired David Charnay's Allied Public Relations Associates to fight in the court of public opinion. Charnay's firm used a disgruntled former employee of Byoir's--who had saved key files and notes on the case--to aid in filing a lawsuit against the Eastern Railroads Presidents Conference and Carl Byoir & Associates for violations of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and the Clayton Act. The battle endured for five years, but Carl Byoir would never know its resolution.
At the beginning of the Railroad-Trucker's Brawl, Byoir gave an emotional speech to his staff predicting the firm would emerge victorious. In 1961, the United States Supreme Court exonerated Carl Byoir & Associates of all consiracy charges.
Though Byoir died in 1957, the firm went on to thrive for nearly two more decades. Even though it was left to be absorbed by Hill & Knowlton, the Carl Byoir name continues to be on of the most well known in pr history.