The album followed its predecessor Kimono My House by half a year and was a successful album in the UK and US. It reached #9 on the UK Album Chart(which would remain their second highest album chart position in the UK for nearly 43 years until pushed down into third place by Hippopotamus in 2017) and #63 on the Billboard 200 (and remains their highest peak in that country).
The singles "Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth" and "Something for the Girl with Everything", while not as successful as those from Kimono My House both reached the top twenty in the UK reaching number 13 and number 17 respectively. In France, "At Home, at Work, at Play" together with "Propaganda" was released as a single instead of "Something for the Girl with Everything". In the US, "Achoo" was released as the album's only single.
Reviewing in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981), Robert Christgau wrote: "Admirers of these self-made twerps certainly don't refer to them as pop because they get on the AM—for once the programmers are doing their job. So is it because they sing in a high register? Or because a good beat makes them even more uncomfortable than other accoutrements of a well-lived life?; 'Never turn your back on mother earth,' they chant or gibber in a style unnatural enough to end your current relationship or kill your cacti, and I must be a natural man after all, because I can't endure the contradiction."
Dave Connolly of AllMusic touched on the criticism: "The torrential outpouring of words and ideas, underscored by guitars and keyboards with oft-shifting rhythms, either repels or attracts listeners." However, he believed "close-minded" American listeners were more critical of the album's "cross between 10cc and the power pop of the late '70s", concluding that "Propaganda remains one of Sparks' brightest achievements, brimming with a loopy charm that continued to captivate the open-minded English listeners".
Propaganda was re-issued and remastered by Island in 1994 and 2006. The first issue by the Island Masters subsidiary added the b-sides "Alabamy Right" and "Marry Me". The '21st Century Edition' also included an interview from Saturday Scene recorded in November 1974.