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  • All one really requires for putting anything over is enough energy and resistance to keep on plugging the idea. Someone will eventually fall.

  • All our advertising is propaganda, of course, but it has become so much a part of our life, is so pervasive, that we just don't know what it is propaganda for.

  • We know of our own knowledge that we are human beings, and, as such, imperfect. But we are bathed by the communications industry in a ceaseless tide of inhuman, impossible perfection.

  • Know the difference between Giant and Jumbo? Between two-ounce and a big two-ounce? Between a quart and a full quart? What's a tall 24-inch? What does Extra Long mean? Who's kidding who?

  • Great advertising is the expression of deep emotional sincerity.

  • In my firm, we dealt in lies. Advertising is that ... the skilful use of the truth to mislead, to spoil, to debase.

  • The language of salesmanship was no doubt born with the first fashions in fig leaves in the garden of Eden. A strange concept has grown around it: if something is to be sold, inaccuracy is not immoral. Hence the art of advertisement — untruthfulness combined with repetition.

  • ... advertisement ... has brought our disregard for truth into the open without even a figleaf to cover it.

  • Pitching was about fooling people, manipulating them, making them believe in something that ultimately wasn't there. Great pitching was great lying.

  • Americans had a passion ... for this year's model. ... Advertisements jumped out from the magazines, through radio and television. Daily life spun round on a commercial carousel. You brushed your teeth to its music in the morning, ate your lunch and dinner to it, and went to bed full of advertising. It was an instant civilization with everything immediately to hand, ready, replaceable, and eternally new.

  • Of course, there is some truth in advertising. There's yeast in bread, but you can't make bread with yeast alone. Truth in advertising is like leaven, which a woman hid in three measures of meal. It provides a suitable quantity of gas, with which to blow out a mass of crude misrepresentation into a form that the public can swallow.

  • Advertise, or go under.

  • Advertising never sold a bad product twice.

  • It is very difficult to have a free, fair and honest press anywhere in the world. In the first place, as a rule, papers are largely supported by advertising, and that immediately gives the advertisers a certain hold over the medium which they use.

  • Growing up female in America. What a liability! You grew up with your ears full of cosmetic ads, love songs, advice columns, whoreoscopes, Hollywood gossip, and moral dilemmas on the level of TV soap operas. What litanies the advertisers of the good life chanted at you! What curious catechisms!

  • As yet we use our media only for selling things — including, of course, political candidates. What will happen when someone masters the art of selling souls?

  • The tragedy of our time is not that we are so eye centered, so appearance besotted. The tragedy is that we do not know what we like until we are told by our advertisers and entertainers.

  • No, I most certainly do not think advertising people are wonderful. I think they are horrible, and the worst menace to mankind, next to war; perhaps ahead of war. They stand for the material viewpoint, for the importance of possessions, of desire, of envy, of greed. And war comes from these things.

  • The consumer today is the victim of the manufacturer who launches on him a regiment of products for which he must make room in his soul.

    • Mary McCarthy,
    • "America the Beautiful: The Humanist in the Bathtub" (1947), On the Contrary ()
  • We grew up founding our dreams on the infinite promise of American advertising. I still believe that one can learn to play the piano by mail and that mud will give you a perfect complexion.

  • It's smart to be thrifty.

  • To be a success in advertising you must want to fill other people with a passion for possession.

  • A good ad should be like a good sermon: It must not only comfort the afflicted — it also must afflict the comfortable!

  • Of course advertising creates wants. Of course it makes people discontented, dissatisfied. Satisfaction with things as they are would defeat the American dream.

  • Advertising prods people into wanting more and better things. Of course advertising makes people dissatisfied with what they have — makes them raise their sights. Mighty good thing it does. Nothing could be worse for the United States than 200,000,000 satisfied Americans.

  • Just as a salesperson is never extreme or original or overdressed, so the TV retailers never do anything to distract their audiences from the real product, the commercial.

  • Most admakers understand that in order to sell to you they have to know your desires and dreams better than you may know them yourself ...

  • Despite advertising's enormous role in our lives, most of the media feel that, like hot dogs and military budgets, advertising goes down most easily when it's unexamined. They react this way, of course, because they're sponsored. Conveyors of commercial culture are free to question nearly all of modern life except their own life-support system. This conflict of interest means that unlike 'official' cultural products — films, TV shows, books, paintings, and so on — advertising finds few regular critics in the mainstream press.

  • All advertising tells lies, but there are little lies and there are big lies. Little lie: This beer tastes great. Big lie: this beer makes you great.

  • When the Florida Department of Citrus promotes orange juice as 'cholesterol-free,' it's depending on and fostering a thudding dullness of mind. This is like saying, 'Fly Eastern — it's dandruff-free!'

  • If only the people were as fed up with mass commercialism as they supposedly are with politics and the press. That sort of disgust will take generations, if it comes at all — that would be true revolution in America.

  • ... I think it's funny that people are always saying that our culture is oversexualized, because I think we're totally undersexualized. All we are is overcommercialized.

  • Cosmetics today are big business — very big business. ... Success is based on the simple premise that if it's a question of being attractive and fashionable, you can sell people anything.

  • ... two powerful, opposing forces — one seducing people to eat and the other telling them they are failures if they do — create heartache everywhere.

    • Emme,
    • in Emme and Natasha Stoynoff, Life's Little Emergencies ()
  • The message of the media is the commercial.

    • Alice Embree,
    • "Media Images I: Madison Avenue Brainwashing -- the Facts," in Robin Morgan, ed., Sisterhood Is Powerful ()
  • Economically and socially, our national accent is on youth. ... Our advertising is based to a great extent on the common desire to look, act and feel young.

  • There are two kinds of artists left: those who endorse Pepsi and those who simply won't.

  • [On the cosmetics industry:] This is an industry with built-in obsolescence. The trick is to get the new colors out before the old bottles and containers are quite empty. Women can be easily persuaded that these are now out of date and that they must move on to a new color.

  • Television does not provide human models for a bright thirteen-year-old girl who would like to grow up to be something other than an ecstatic floor waxer.

    • Caroline Bird,
    • 1971, in Louise Bernikow, The American Women's Almanac ()
  • The same people who tell us that smoking doesn't cause cancer are now telling us that advertising cigarettes doesn't cause smoking.

  • The more we think we're not affected by media — stereotypes, advertising — the more potential those forms of media have.

  • [1957 Clairol slogan:] Is it true ... Blondes have more fun?

  • [1955 Clairol slogan:] Does she ... or doesn't she? Only her hairdresser knows for sure.

  • It is immoral to trade on fear. It is immoral constantly to make women feel dissatisfied with their bodies. It is immoral to deceive a customer by making miracle claims for a product. It is immoral to use a photograph of a glowing sixteen-year-old to sell a cream aimed at preventing wrinkles in a forty-year-old.

  • ... I believe that conventional marketing techniques are increasingly ineffective. Customers are hyped out. They have been overmarketed. They are becoming more cynical about the whole advertising and marketing process.

  • What I find most injurious to mankind in modern advertising is the constant appeal to material standards and values, the elevating of material things into an end in themselves, a virtue.

  • In Europe, a product must be good, or it will not sell in competition with other products; with you, it is enough to say that it is good, often enough and sufficiently loudly. The keenest competition is not in the making of things but in the advertising of them!

  • Advertising ... is a parasitic activity; it forces goods for which there is no real need or demand on a foolish or even a reluctant public, always by appealing to their lower instincts.

  • ... advertising confuses values ... By appealing either to fear, or to vanity, or to covetousness, it very skillfully insinuates false values.

  • The advertising agency, as it stands today, is a peculiar manifestation of American business life of the twentieth century — glossy, brash, and insecure.

  • Here's what a lot of the media want us to believe: One day, we'll get everything right about our appearance. Our hair will look fabulous, our skin will be smooth and crease-free, men will have perfect six-pack abs and we'll be three sizes smaller than we are now. We'll look so good we'll have made over not just our looks but our lives.

  • Picturesqueness is a lost art. We may expect at anytime to hear that a collar ad is blazing its electric lights atop of the largest pyramid.

    • Alice Dunbar-Nelson,
    • 1929, in Gloria T. Hull, ed., The Works of Alice Dunbar-Nelson, vol. 2 ()
  • Necessity need not be the mother of invention, but today invention becomes the mother of necessity. Our affluent society is preoccupied with the production and compulsive consumption of material goods we have been taught to want.

  • Advertising today is not subliminal, but its subtle psychological effect is as devastating as any secret message flashed at high speeds to unsuspecting viewers.

    • Lucy Komisar,
    • "The Image of Woman in Advertising," in Vivian Gornick and Barbara K. Moran, Woman in Sexist Society ()
  • Fear has been a staple of advertisers and politicians for so long that you'd think we would have become better at detecting their use of it. But fear and insecurity can still cloud our judgment. To put the lesson in a nutshell, 'If it's scary, be wary.'

    • Kathleen Hall Jamieson,
    • in Brooks Jackson and Kathleen Hall Jamieson, UnSpun: Finding Facts in a World of Disinformation ()