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Lying and cheating in advertising, in the long run, are commercial suicide. Dishonesty in advertising destroys not only confidence in advertising, but also in the medium which carries the dishonest advertisement.... No one can be ill in a community without endangering others; no advertiser can be dishonest without casting suspicion upon others.
Most of my news, I get from the radio news stations. One of the stations' advertising lines is "Give us 22 minutes, we'll give you the world." In 22 minutes, they just have time for the headlines, so they can only really tell you what happened — which, by the way, is the news. They tell you how many people were killed in Iraq today, but they don't then bring on some Republican senator to explain to you how that's good. Or, on the contrary, they don't bring in a bunch of Democrats to tell you why it's bad. They just tell you what happened. That's the news. I am capable of analyzing my own news. What makes these people qualified to analyze my news for me? No matter what side they're on, I never agree with them.
Being myself animated by feelings of affection toward my fellowmen, I am saddened by the modern system of advertising. Whatever evidence it offers of enterprise, ingenuity, impudence, and resource in certain individuals, it proves to my mind the wide prevalence of that form of mental degradation which is called gullibility.
We think we will never know as much about a product as a client. After all, he sleeps and breathes his product. He's built it. He's lived with it most of his life. We couldn't possible know as much about it as he does. By the same token, we firmly believe that he can't know as much about advertising. Because we live and breathe that all day long.
Advertising is the best insurance that you can take out on your business. You can buy fire insurance on your stock of goods, but no company will issue a policy covering your business, the good will as they sometimes call it. You must insure yourself, and the best way to do it is by advertising. Good advertising kept up for a number of years gives you something that no fire can take away.
According to the estimate of a prominent advertising firm, above 90 per cent, of the earning capacity of the prominent nostrums is represented by their advertising. And all this advertising is based on the well-proven theory of the public's pitiable ignorance and gullibility in the vitally important matter of health.
I gave someone a perverse argument not so long ago about why advertising is better than movies. You want to hear it? Movies operate from a really disingenuous premise, that people are heroes. I know a lot of people and have had an opportunity over the years to observe them. Are they heroes...? Let's put it this way. Advertising tries something simpler and more believable: Products as heroes. I guess the idea is: When all else fails, put your faith in conditioner.
The other thing that gives a scientific man the creeps in the world today are the methods of choosing leaders - in every nation. Today, for example, in the United States, the two political parties have decided to employ public relations men, that is, advertising men, who are trained in the necessary methods of telling the truth or lying in order to develop a product.
One of the basic troubles with radio and television news is that both instruments have grown up as an incompatible combination of show business, advertising and news. Each of the three is a rather bizarre and demanding profession. And when you get all three under one roof, the dust never settles. The top management of the networks with a few notable exceptions, has been trained in advertising, research, sales or show business. But by the nature of the corporate structure, they also make the final and crucial decisions having to do with news and public affairs. Frequently they have neither the time nor the competence to do this.
Although advertising is communication unusually candid about its motivation, Americans love to loathe it. As society becomes more complex and opaque, as social processes seem more impersonal and autonomous, and as elites of 'experts' become more annoying, more people are tepted to think that some 'they' is manipulating 'us,' using, among other dark arts, advertising.
Advertising is an instrument in the hands of the people who use it. If evil men use advertising for base purposes, then evil can result. If honest men use advertising to sell an honest product with honest enthusiasm, then positive good for our kind of capitalistic society can result.
Tragedy was foresworn, in ritual denial of the ripe knowledge that we are drawing away from one another, that we share only one thing, share the fear of belonging to another, or to others, or to God; love or money, tender equated in advertising and the world, where only money is currency, and under dead trees and brittle ornaments prehensile hands exchange forgeries of what the heart dare not surrender.