How Sigmund Freud’s nephew nearly gave me hypothermia by @TommyHolgate

When I hear the phrase ‘general public’ I picture a cacophony of uniformed individuals, trade workers, ‘suits’ and whatever other groups there are [I’m not a fan of labelling on the whole]. And I picture them to be happy and helpful individuals, no matter what anyone says.

That’s one major reason why I am different to Sigmund Freud’s nephew – Edward Bernays. Edward is basically the man that invented Public Relations.Back around the 30s, he cottoned on to the fact that corporations needed an identity, or a ‘brand’.

Having this ‘brand’ meant they could create a ‘personality’ that people could associate with. He would throw parties at which all the richest people would be, and their collective goal was to move people – of all financial situations but it would mainly trouble the poor, as they are the group that aspire for a better life – from ‘needs-based’ to ‘desire-based’ purchasing.

By associating the products of these companies with a desired life, the ‘poor’ would spend all that they had in order to fit in. This is all bad enough, but wait till you hear why he became so popular with the corporate elite…

Edward Bernays believed the ‘general public’ to be ‘unreliable in decision making’, and a ‘frantic herd that could not be trusted and incapable of rational thought’. Thus, corporations made it their mission to stimulate the public’s desires with adverts. The goal was to create an association between the brand and a happy feeling. So if you think you ‘really love Coca Cola’ it is most likely because of the psychological link between that name and many happy memories. On holiday, after playing a football match, while watching the Olympics, whatever, as long as you see their name, they are happy. Ego-led nonsense.

Coca-Cola recently paid $250,000 to an American high school to refurbish its sporting facilities – as long as Coke branding was everywhere. When told that this had not affected sales within the school, Coke’s Marketing Director said, “We’re not bothered about that, the main thing was to expose these kids to the name Coca Cola as soon as possible”.

So, just because one bloke in the 30s went “the public are stupid, lets keep tricking them until their broke but we can go on better holidays than those involved with rival corporations”, the businesses went “OK, especially if it’ll mean the shareholders can get bigger cars”.

And now people are dying of obesity and killing themselves because of crippling debt. Because of ego-led nonsense.

I watched the documentary containing the above info [‘Ethos’ hosted by Woody Harrelson] a couple of days before setting off on a 1400-mile handbike journey for Sport Relief. My ‘thought train’ following Bernays’ quotes went as follows…

Who says the general public are incapable of rational thought!? Have we been buying all this s*t for years because of one bonkers plonker? You know what, I’m not even going to give any coverage to any camping companies on this ride [I was trying to get some snazzy camping gear, but realised it may perpetuate the ‘buying s**t we don’t need factor].  F**k it, I’m doing the ride without a tent, I’ll find shelter along the way…

F**k it, I’m not even going to eat!

It was my first night last night so I tried sleeping just wrapped in my sleeping bag suit and a ground sheet. Forgetting your foil blanket is not a good idea.

I’ll be using my tent tonight. Because I need it.

As Brad Pitt said in Fight Club, “We spend our whole lives working jobs we hate to buy s**t we don’t need”.

Often with money we don’t have.

Any money you DO have right now, might go well here –

Here’s the full blog –


NB – I appreciate the irony in the fact that I’m into all of the above sort of stuff yet am currently making a living by promoting gambling within a tabloid as Tommy Lottery. But once again, ‘Sun readers’ are pretty much the public [you’d be surprised at their ABC1 readership levels] and going round to meet people for a living and smiling in their kitchen/living room/garden seems like a nice way to spend time.


Tommy Holgate AKA presenter, comedian and columnist for many a national newspaper including The Sun.

Follow Tommy’s adventures at and on twitter at @TommyHolgate.