Influencer marketing back during World War One took center stage when Hollywood stars hopped on board the "Liberty Bell Special" war bond train and joined President Woodrow Wilson's pro-war whistle stop tour.* The federal government needed to raise money from the public to fund the war effort. Propaganda played a central role in establishing Hollywood and the United States government as influential institutions to be reckoned with, changing the course of history for the better.*
Now just over one hundred years later, how does our world look to you?
Does it live up to 20th-century, hyperbolic prediction?*
Electronic communication means everything. Hollywood stars use social media to propagate new fashions and social awareness. The blueprint established by groups like President Woodrow Wilson’s Committee on Public Information would become foundational to the communication structure to come. Modern public relations would not exist without this history.*
The magic bullet theory requires one step, unlike influencer marketing, but does it work?
It appears to depend on whom you ask and when you ask the question.*
20th-century behavioral psychologists were inspired by the cultural effects of Hollywood and Nazi propaganda during the early stages of World War Two, to create the hypodermic needle or magic bullet model of communication.* This theory supposes that the audience is a passive participant in the communication process, like sitting ducks oblivious to the hunter. This form of communication requires but one step, meaning it needs no celebrity endorsement. The message is targeted to the specific audience demographic without the need for any intermediary filter. This type of marketing treats all of its targets the same. It does not require the influencer, but its effectiveness is in doubt. What once seemed to be a good idea with predictive power fizzled out as time went on.**