Bruce Fairchild Barton

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A man may be down, but he is never out.

Bruce Fairchild Barton (5 August 18865 July 1967) was an American writer, advertising executive, and politician.

Quotes[edit]

  • A man may be down, but he is never out.
  • There are two seas in Palestine. One is fresh, and fish are in it. Splashes of green adorn its banks. Trees spread their branches over it and stretch out their thirsty roots to sip of its healing waters... The Sea of Galilee receives but does not keep the Jordan. For every drop that flows into it another drop flows out. The giving and receiving go on in equal measure. The other sea is shrewder, hoarding its income jealously. It will not be tempted into any generous impulse. Every drop it gets, it keeps. The Sea of Galilee gives and lives. The other sea gives nothing. It is named The Dead. There are two kinds of people in the world. There are two seas in Palestine.
  • Give advertising time. That is the thing that it needs most. The advertising agency is the most precious infant among the professions. Is it fair to expect perfection in a profession that counts only a single generation to its credit? We are learning. I see no reason why advertising agencies, too, should not outlive their founders and the successors of their founders, growing wiser with each generation and gathering a priceless possession of recorded experience.
    • BBDO Newsletter (1966)
  • I had never thought of advertising as a life work, though I had on the side, written some very successful copy.
    • As quoted in The Mirror Makers: A History of American Advertising and Its Creators (1984) by Steven Fox
  • The American conception of advertising is to arouse desires and stimulate wants, to make people dissatisfied with the old and out-of-date and by constant iteration to send them out to work harder to get the latest model—whether that model be an icebox or a rug or a new home.
    • As quoted in Fables of Abundance: a cultural history of advertising in America (1994) by Jackson Lears

The Man Nobody Knows (1924)[edit]

To every man of vision the clear Voice speaks; there is no great leadership where there is not a mystic. Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside themselves was superior to circumstance.
The Man Nobody Knows : A Discovery of the Real Jesus
  • To every man of vision the clear Voice speaks; there is no great leadership where there is not a mystic. Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside themselves was superior to circumstance. To choose the sure thing is treason to the soul.
    • On Jesus, in Ch. 1 : The Executive
  • It is said that great leaders are born, not made. The saying is true to this degree, that no man can persuade people to do what he wants them to do, unless he genuinely likes people, and believes that what he wants them to do is to their own advantage.
    • Ch. 4 : His Method
  • Surely no one will consider us lacking in reverence if we say that every one of the "principles of modern salesmanship" on which business men so much pride themselves, are brilliantly exemplified in Jesus' talk and work.
    • Ch. 4 : His Method
  • Much brass has been sounded and many cymbals tinkled in the name of advertising; but the advertisements which persuade people to act are written by men who have an abiding respect for the intelligence of their readers, and a deep sincerity regarding the merits of the goods they have to sell.
    • Ch. 5 : His Advertisements
  • Generalities would have been soon forgotten. But the story that had its roots in everyday human existence and need, lives and will live forever. It condensed the philosophy of Christianity into half a dozen unforgettable paragraphs. The parable of the Good Samaritan is the greatest advertisement of all times.
    • Ch. 5 : His Advertisements
  • Learn their lesson, that if you would teach people you first must capture their interest with news; that your service rather than your sermons must be your claim upon their attention; that what you say must be simple, and brief, and above all sincere — the unmistakable voice of true regard and affection.
    • On the teachings of Jesus, in Ch. 5 : His Advertisements


Misattributed[edit]

  • He was in fact an adman: persuading, recruiting followers, finding the right words to arouse interest and create desires, in short exemplifying all the principles of modern salesmanship.
    • Stephen R. Fox, summarizing Barton's beliefs regarding Jesus, in The Mirror Makers : A History of American Advertising and Its Creators (1984); this has been quoted as if it were a statement of Barton's.

Quotes about Barton[edit]

  • Bruce Barton's advertising career started quite accidentally. One of Collier's clients, the Harvard Classics "Dr. Elliot's Five-Foot Shelf of Books," had traditionally been sold on double page spreads. At the last minute, the pressroom man told Barton that he had an extra quarter page left to fill. Barton tore a page out of one of the classics, and asked his readers , "This is Marie Antoinette riding to her death. Have you ever read her tragic story?" Barton had created a unique benefit for his readers — cultural enrichment in less than fifteen minutes a day — and this simple idea sold over 400,000 sets of the classics.
    • Steven Fox in The Mirror Makers : A History of American Advertising and Its Creators (1984)
  • I knew I'd never be more than a second-rate business man and a second-rate writer — so I decided to add the two things together and be a first rate advertising man.
    • "Barnham Dunn" (a character based on Barton) in The Virgin Queene (1928) by Harford Powel Jr; quoted in The Mirror Makers: A History of American Advertising and Its Creators (1984) by Steven Fox

External links[edit]

Wikipedia
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