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Things to Remember When Advertising

Nov 6, 2007
Why do you dislike the expression "spending money for advertising?" I think it matters whether you give the expression a positive or a negative twist. Spending almost implies "operation down-the-drain" whereas in handling an appropriation for advertising you are really buying sales. Indeed, any time you are not buying sales with your advertising, you are certainly in trouble! I much prefer the positive approach. The verb "spend" to me is far less attractive and more misleading than the verb buy.

What do you consider the most important asset for an advertising agency man? I guess it's the old truism about having knowledge of the client's problems and objectives. No man in advertising can ever know too much about his market, his products, his competition and all other factors that touch on the foregoing. If that sounds corny, make the most of it! Incidentally, the word "corny" instead of being a word of opprobrium is really complimentary. Things that stand the test of time are really classics and the fact that they have been valid for so long is a tribute to the perennial quality of their virtue. Humility is a gracious trait in anyone. An open, inquiring mind is not merely rare, but it can be your most valuable asset.

Is advertising becoming an exact science? I doubt if it ever will. In spite of all the systems, reports, and tests, advertising is not yet an exact science. Practically all final decisions are made by human judgment and are just as fallible as human judgment always is.

Now for some points of advice to a younger advertising manager or his understudy. Cooperate with your agency, but don't just "yes" them. On the other hand, don't heckle. It's petty and unattractive, and it never produces results when overdone. Remember, most agency men know lots more than you do in their field. They generally have far greater and broader experience than you on die other side of the desk.

There's a big reward for the agency guy who builds up dignity and respect for his agency. Mutual trust between agent and client will certainly bring out the best there is on both sides. To good agency men it isn't unfair heckling to ask, in matters where questions arise, for as much proof or evidence as possible.

Remember your advertising reflects you, your company, its principals (as well as principles). Don't let any of them down This includes your character, your performance, your conduct at all times.

Don't get tense; relax!

Laughter is the greatest stimulant in the world.

Dare to be different or advanced.

I will give you an example from my own experience.

In 1925 I was visited by a salesman for NBC who was selling time for Station WEAF. He was trying to sell the use of their station-advertising time for selling our Ipana Toothpaste which was beginning to grow on a national basis. I met resistance on all sides, within our company and within our agency too. Advertising a toothpaste over radio! Nonsense! It's preposterous! It's undignified! People will resent it!

I took on three stations however, one in Boston, one in New York and one in Philadelphia. We put on Sam Lanin, an orchestra leader fairly well-known at the time. The orchestra assembled for the purpose was a good one. The selections were never too highbrow, but were tuneful and melodic with a few semi-classical numbers interpolated. Phil Carlin and Graham McNamee were the announcers and they introduced a little M.C. talk before each number and played much the role of a present-day disc jockey.

I can say unqualifiedly that the whole idea worked out splendidly. We got a new surge of sales that could only be attributed to the new medium, radio. Within a year, we were on a national network and have been so almost continuously since, certainly until the advent of television.
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