Internet Memes are now used in ways formerly used in leaflet propaganda. Targeted Internet memes “hack” people’s attention and aid in sewing discord. Memes do this by utilizing classic psychological warfare tactics, such as those used in propaganda via analogue leaflets.
The BBC created a Radio Soap Opera during WWII specifically for the American market. It was propaganda designed to get the USA to end its neutrality. One of the aims of the show was to appeal to those with a ‘limited mentality’. It ended up being a popular radio show in the US.
George Orwell’s use of 2+2=5 as a catchphrase of the dystopian government in his book 1984 is based on Joseph Stalin’s use of that equation in propaganda. Soviet posters declared “2 + 2 plus the enthusiasm of the workers = 5” long before Orwell wrote his novel. The USSR reached the goals of that Five Year Plan in four years, therefore meaning that the “enthusiasm of the workers” did five years worth of work in four years.
It used to be improper for women to smoke, but a single PR stunt changed all that. In 1929, women were hired to light up while marching in a parade, calling the cigarettes “Torches of Freedom.” So smoking became a symbol of equal rights, and sales skyrocketed.
The stunt was pulled by Edward Bernays (nephew of Sigmund Freud), who is known as the godfather of Public Relations (he even coined that term, because his original word ‘Propaganda’ was getting a bad rap)
Bernays is also credited with making bacon & eggs into breakfast foods, convincing the public that fluoridated tap water was safe, and helping the CIA/United Fruit Company get away with overthrowing the Guatemalan government (which was democratically-elected).
In the Cold War, the United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings, in order to spur resistance to the Soviet occupation.
Kijong-Dong is a village located in North Korea, by the border to South Korea, built solely for propaganda reasons. It has no residents and many of the buildings have no window glass or furniture, and features fake street sweepers and lights set on timers to make the village appear inhabited.
Tinfoil hats not only don’t block radio waves, but have actually been shown to amplify them.
During WWII the US tricked the German postal service into inadvertently delivering anti-Nazi propaganda to German citizens through mail in the form of stamps.