“Advertising has evolved into a business driven by megalomaniacs who know a lot about making money but little or nothing about making advertising. In some respects it’s also being driven by “creatives,” who have it wrong to the opposite extreme. They believe the ad or commercial is everything and that winning awards is something. They’ve lost sight of the fact that advertising, in and of itself, isn’t anything. Advertising’s sole purpose is to be the cause of something else. To cause a sales increase. To cause a shift in perception. To cause the creation of an edifice of imagery that allows a product or service to be something. But advertising itself is nothing. Nothing but a means to an end. Only fools believe the means is as important or significant as the end.”

via Ad Aged: From Ed McCabe..

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  1. I wonder when he wrote that, 1970s maybe? Advertising has certainly evolved and gotten more sophisticated, particularly since some aspects of effectiveness can be measured better now. But some things will probably never change.

  2. This quote always made me laugh: “Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket.” George Orwell

  3. From a real-world practical business point-of-view these are valid points. But, Marshall Mcluhan might disagree that advertising as the medium of delivery is completely unimportant to the larger picture of society.

    • Adverstising is part of the cultural loop. It feeds on and regurgitates culture, often times a cultural impulse that is only a feeling in the broader cultuer, and solidifies that impulse into popular culture as a whole. The ethical issue for agencies is, to me any way, the impulses we choose to champion. Given the option, pushing an impulse that is less damaging (in a VERY broad sense) is always preferable to pushing base desires.

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