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I never thought I honestly would make a living out of it. I did cartoons for the high school paper and then the college paper and then when I got out I was working in advertising. I was just a pay-stub artist, a layout artist, but I got to meet Tom Ryan, who does the Tumbleweeds comic strip. He lived in Muncie and I asked him how he got started and he liked my stuff and asked me to be his assistant. This was back in 1969.
Advertising is a serious thing with the businessman of to-day. It is estimated that the businessmen of the United States are spending $600,000,- a year in printed forms of advertising. Furthermore one authority claims that seventy-five per cent, of all this is unprofitable. Every business man is anxious that no part of these unprofitable advertisements shall fall to his lot. The enormity of the expense, the keenness of competition, and the great liability of failure has awakened the advertising world to the pressing need for some basis of assurance in its hazardous undertakings.
The fact is that much of advertising's power comes from this belief that advertising does not affect us. The most effective kind of propaganda is that which is not recognized as propaganda. Because we think advertising is silly and trivial, we are less on guard, less critical, than we might otherwise be. It's all in fun, it's ridiculous. While we're laughing, sometimes sneering, the commercial does its work.
Sixty percent of the newspaper space may be filled with advertising, but that advertising does not command sixty percent of the average reader's attention. We are inured to most of these advertisements and commercials; they wash over us without even dampening the skin. We often do not stop to even read or watch the ads at all, and when we do, they rarely penetrate or connect with our consciousness, let alone transform our identity. True, we are all persuaded and seduced from time to time by these ads, encouraged to make irrational impulsive consumer choices. But that kind of persuasion and seduction is endemic to social life; we run across it constantly and develop mechanisms to filter it out and fend it off.