A quick search for a definition of advertising immediately reveals that the word is not a simple one. It seems as though there are as many definitions of advertising as there are people who work in the industry. And it seems as though there are as many definitions as there are approaches to conduct research on the messages.
First, there are definitions that equate advertising to sales:
“The simplest definition of advertising, and one that will probably meet the test of critical examination, is that advertising is selling in print.” Daniel Starch, Principles of Advertising, 1923, Chicago, IL: A.W. Shaw Company, p. 5. *
“Advertising is selling Twinkies to adults.” Donald R. Vance (no source listed) *
“Our job is to sell our clients’ merchandise . . . not ourselves. Our job is to kill the cleverness that makes us shine instead of the product. Our job is to simplify, to tear away the unrelated, to pluck out the weeds that are smothering the product message.” William Bernbach, quoted in Bill Bernbach said . . . (1989). DDB Needham Worldwide.
Some definitions of advertising suggest that the method is simplistic:
“Advertising is what you do when you can’t go see somebody. That’s all it is.” Fairfax Cone (1963), quoted in James B. Simpson, Contemporary Quotations. (1964). Binghamton, NY: Vail-Ballou Press, p. 84. *
“Advertising is, actually, a simple phenomenon in terms of economics. It is merely a substitute for a personal sales force - an extension, if you will, of the merchant who cries aloud his wares.” Rosser Reeves, Reality in Advertising. (1986). New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., p. 145. *
“Advertising is salesmanship mass produced. No one would bother to use advertising if he could talk to all his prospects face-to-face. But he can’t.” Morris Hite, quoted in Adman: Morris Hite’s Methods for Winning the Ad Game, (1988). Dallas, TX: E-Heart Press, p. 203....
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