Once upon a time more than 5,000 years ago, God needed a good PR representative to speak on behalf of slaves in Egypt. He hired Moses, who was called up to a mountain and tasked with securing freedom for the Jews who were under Pharaoh’s grip in Egypt. Moses, being slow of tongue, enlisted his brother Aaron to be spokesperson. Using a catchy slogan (“Let my people go!”), Moses and Aaron stated God’s case. Of course, a good slogan is never enough; it took some serious plagues and miracles to change Pharaoh’s attitude, and eventually the Jews were freed. Off into the desert they went to find the Promised Land.
But the PR story doesn’t end there. As they wandered in the desert for 40 years, the people became corrupt and debauched, so God decided He needed another PR campaign to influence their attitudes. He called Moses to the top of another mountain and dictated His action plan. Moses may have understood that when he got back, words from the unseen God might not be enough; he needed to stage a dramatic event. So instead of mere verbal representation, God and Moses delivered the plan in stone, framed on lovely, arched tablets. Moses grabbed his audience’s attention by coming down from the mountain with Ten Commandments in a spectacular show of God’s power and authority.
This PR version of the story was inspired by Shelley Spector, executive director and founder of the Museum of Public Relations, who suggests Moses’s story is among the earliest chapters in our profession’s history. Shelley and I are working on a Hofstra-sponsored historical PR timeline, which will begin with cave drawings and move through Moses, ancient Greece and Rome, the spread of Christianity, the invention of the printing press, and every PR and communication milestone since. Shelley’s point is this: everything in our history from religion to politics to social and technological changes has ties to the skills and tools we practice in the field of public relations. All things are PR. Your thoughts?
Next week for Valentine’s Day: How romance is PR, too.