Advertising is paid communication through a non-personal medium in which the sponsor is identified and the message is controlled. For a list of phrases used in the promotion of actual products, see Advertising slogans.
- Quotes are arranged alphabetically by author
A - F
- From any cross-section of ads, the general advertiser's attitude would seem to be: if you are a lousy, smelly, idle, underpriveleged and oversexed status-seeking neurotic moron, give me your money.
- It is sometimes argued that advertising really does little harm because no one believes it any more anyway. We consider this view to be erroneous. The greatest damage done by advertising is precisely that it incessantly demonstrates the prostitution of men and women who lend their intellects, their voices, their artistic skills to purposes in which they themselves do not believe, and that it teaches [in the words of Leo Marx] ‘the essential meaninglessness of all creations of the mind: words, images, and ideas.’ The real danger from advertising is that it helps to shatter and ultimately destroy our most precious non-material possessions: the confidence in the existence of meaningful purposes of human activity and respect for the integrity of man.
- Advertise your business. Do not hide your light under a bushel.
- P. T. Barnum. ‘Sundry Business Enterprises’, Ch XIV, ‘Barnum’s Rules for Success in Business’, The Life of P. T. Barnum, 1855.
- The sponsor may be viewed as a potentate with a strong influence over currents of thought in our society, exercised mainly through television [...] It has tended to displace or overwhelm other influences such as newspapers, school, church, grandpa, grandma. It has become the definer and transmitter of society's values.
- Advertising sells you things you don't need and can't afford, that are overpriced and don't work. And they do it by exploiting your fears and insecurities, and if you don't have any they'll be glad to give you a few by showing you a nice picture of a woman with big tits. That's the essence of advertising: big tits. Threateningly big tits.
- George Carlin (1997), "40 Years of Comedy".
- It seems like the better it gets, the more miserable people become. There’s never a technological advancement where people think, “Wow, we can finally do this!” … And I think a lot of it has to do with advertising. Americans have it constantly drilled into our heads, every fucking day, that we deserve everything to be perfect all the time.
G - L
- Free speech is meaningless if the commercial cacophony has risen to the point where no one can hear you.
- Naomi Klein, No Logo.
- Advertising may be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it.
M - R
- The modern Little Red Riding Hood, reared on singing commercials, has no objection to being eaten by the wolf.
- They deny good luck, love, power, romance, and inspiration
From La Jac Brite ointment and incense of all kinds,
And condemn in writing skin brightening and whitening
and whitening of minds.
There is upon the federal trade commission a burden of glory
So to defend the fact, so to impel
The plucking of hope from the hand, honor from the complexion,
Sprite from the spell.
- Josephine Miles, "Government Injunction Restraining Harlem Cosmetic Co." (1941) St. 2–3; Collected Poems, University of Illinois Press, 1983
- The rich philistinism emanating from advertisements is due not to their exaggerating (or inventing) the glory of this or that serviceable article but to suggesting that the acme of human happiness is purchasable and that its purchase somehow ennobles the purchaser.
- Vladimir Nabokov, “Philistines and Philistinism,” Lectures on Russian Literature.
- Are you sensitive? Are you easily hurt? Do you take adverse criticism to heart? Do you sometimes feel that life is passing you by? That the other man gets more out of life than you do? You do? Good. Well, keep it up. That's why we in advertising make so much money... LEGAL. DECENT. HONEST. TRUTHFUL... Are you those things too? Oh goody, better and better! Yum, yum, yum.
- Not the Nine O'clock News, "NOT! Magazine", 1980.
- By saturating the public domain with false sincerity, advertising makes genuine sincerity more difficult
- Avner Offer, The Challenge of Affluence (2006), p. 359.
- Advertising reaches out to touch the fantasy part of people's lives. And you know, most people's fantasies are pretty sad.
- Living in age of advertisement, we are perpetually disillusioned. The perfect life is spread before us every day, but it changes and withers at a touch.
- It is never silent, it drowns out all other voices, and it suffers no rebuke, for is it not the voice of America? [...]
It has taught us how to live, what to be afraid of, how to be beautiful, how to be loved, how to be envied, how to be successful. [...]
Is it any wonder that the American population tends increasingly to speak, think, feel in terms of this jabberwocky? That the stimuli of art, science, religion are progressively expelled to the periphery of American life to become marginal values, cultivated by marginal people on marginal time?
- James Rorty, Our Master's Voice: Advertising (New York: John Day, 1934); pages 32-33, 70-72, 270.
- The Federal Radio Commission has interpreted the concept of public interest so as to favor in actual practice one particular group … the commercial broadcasters.
S - Z
- There are huge advertising budgets only when there's no difference between the products. If the products really were different, people would buy the one that's better. Advertising teaches people not to trust their judgment. Advertising teaches people to be stupid.
- Advertising has sometimes been depicted as simply another cost added on to the cost of producing goods and services. However, in so far as advertising causes more of the advertised product to be sold, economies of scale can reduce production costs, so that the same product may cost less when it is advertised, rather than more. Advertising itself of course has costs, both in the financial sense and in the sense of using resources. But it is an empirical question, rather than a foregone conclusion, whether the costs of advertising are greater or less than the reductions of production costs made possible by the economies of scale which it promotes. This can obviously vary from one firm or industry to another.
- Thomas Sowell, Basic Economics (2010), Ch. 6. The Role of Profits— and Losses
- Advertising is the whip which hustles humanity up the road to the Better Mousetrap. It is the vision which reproaches man for the paucity of his desires.
- Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.
- Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, and the trouble is I don't know which half.
- John Wanamaker. Quoted in David Ogilvy's Confessions of an Advertising Man, Ch. 3, 1963. [Wanamaker here paraphrasing the 1st Lord Leverhulme].