Pros and Cons of Advertising

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‘Whether we like it or not we have got it, and we are likely to go on having it.’ Thus Mr. Taplin in a book which has just been published entitled Advertising: a new approach. Mr. Taplin was formerly the editor of one of our distinguished and irreverent contemporaries: now he bears the striking title of Research Fellow in Advertising and Promotional Activity at the London School of Economics. Whether or not his approach is new, his poet is unique: and his attitude to his subject is, on the whole, approving. Not that he is unaware that the art of advertising has from time to time met with a certain amount of criticism. For example, in a recent number of The Listener Mr. Farneaux Jordan, reviewing recent guidebooks, made some rather gratuitous and perhaps insufficiently considered remarks about advertising to the effect that ‘a fool and his money are soon parted’ and so on. It is not our habit to censor our contributors’ opinions, but naturally those who practice the profession of advertising were offended when they got round to reading this. After all, like all people who take their own business seriously, advertisers are extremely sensitive men and women. If one has no met them in real life, one has surely seen them in films. Struggling with that just word or gem-like phrase that makes all the difference between tasty copy and mere copy-tasting. They are well aware that their work is often maligned. Mr. Taplin quotes a sentence from a book on economics by a Professor K.E Boulding: ‘There is a strong presumption that most competitive advertising is a social waste.’ In Mr. Taplin, however, the profession has found a careful apologist. He brings his fire down on the critics of advertising from many different angles and levels. He reminds us, in a forthright way that the newspaper industry would be ‘decimated’ and ‘whole industries collapse and general depression be set off’ if there were no such things as advertisements. But Mr. Taplin is no mere pragmatist. He is...
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