Ch 6 Advertising & PR

Aside from personal ads and classifieds, mass advertising did not take off until the penny press era of the early to mid-1800s, when high-circulation newspapers allowed widespread access to consumers.  By the 1920s print advertising reached a new peak, exemplified by the ad above for the Jordan car.  The auto company is long gone, but the advertisement was so good that it has lived on as one of the best examples of copy writing in the business.

This chapter surveys some of the agencies, their philosophies and approaches, and their tactics and use of imagery.  It also surveys the history of public relations as a response to muckraking and as a way to speak for corporations in the marketplace of ideas.

Discussion questions

  1. Philosophy of Advertising:  How did Horace Greeley’s philosophy of advertising influence advertising agencies in the late 1800s and early 1900s?
  2. Countering muckrakers: How successful were large corporations in countering the influence of muckrakers in the early 1900s?
  3. PR ethics: According to James Grunig, one of the main functions of an ethical public relations practitioner is to ensure a two-way symmetrical flow of communication. In other words, corporate opinion may be broadcast to the world, but public opinion must be understood inside the board rooms of corporations. Can you think of instances where a corporation that listened to opinion weathered a storm of criticism, and instances where one that didn’t listen ended up losing shareholder value?
  4. Lousy copy writer:  Why did David Ogilvy say he was a lousy copy writer?  What was he good at?  Why?
  5. The 2016 Donald Trump campaign is a triumph of image over substance, according to Neal Gabler, writing in Bill Moyers & Co. March 4, 2016. So how does he see Trump’s campaign as the kind of  pseudo-event  described by Daniel Boorstin?

People & Events

Volney Palmer,  George Reynell, J. Walter Thompson, N.W. Ayer, Thomas Lipton,  P.T. Barnum, Ivy Lee, Edward Bernays, George Creel, Maurice and Charles Saatchi, Lee Clow, Helen Lansdowne Resor, David Ogilvy, Rosser Reeves, Leo Burnett, James Grunig

Interesting links

Advertising collections, museums and menageries

  1. Super Bowl   ads and their ratings.
  2. Advertising Age — Ad history timeline – interesting, some omissions.
  3. Duke University: Emergence of Advertising in America also Ad Access project
  4. Distortions of African American images: Bull Durham, and Uncle Toms Cabin (play)
  5. Library of Congress: The Emergence of Advertising and specific browse pages.
  6. Harpers Weekly advertising history
  7. Moss Kendrix — African American advertising agency and the “unholy trinity”
  8. PT Barnum’s American museum (Flash)
  9. Helen Landsdowne Resor — an early success in the advertising business.
  10. Edward L. Bernays — “scientific” public relations
  11. Vintage magazine advertising – Searchable by category (fuel, shoes, home, laundry etc)
  12. History of Advertising Trust (British)
  13. A signal moment in advertising history – Kevin Horrigan of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, June 10, 2012.  — “In 1922, Gerard Lambert was in his office at the family’s pharmaceutical company in St. Louis. One of his employees read him an article in a British medical journal that used the word halitosis to describe bad breath. Lambert’s father had helped invent a product called Listerine …
  14. Top ad campaigns in history
  15. Early radio commercials
  16. Classic broadcast commercials
  17. Broadcasting and advertising (Duke University library)
  18. Newspaper ads of the 1970s – Philadelphia Inquirer
  19. How an African-American ad man changed the face of advertising. NPR Morning edition, June 15, 2015.
  20. Plentiful content, so cheap –  The future of advertising; how demand marketing is eating the lunch of publications and delivering poor content.

Advertising history:  Patent medicine and other controversies

  1. Mark Twain’s 1905 letter to the manufacturers of the Elixer of Life.   The person who wrote the advertisements is without doubt the most ignorant person now alive on the planet; also without doubt he is an idiot, an idiot of the 33rd degree, and scion of an ancestral procession of idiots stretching back to the Missing Link. 
  2. Jordan car (“Somewhere west of Laramie there’s a broncho-busting, steer-roping girl who knows what Im talking about…” )
  3. Ivory Soap (Smithsonian advertising collection)  Lux soap, 1916, compared to the same company in 1920 (note the difference in orientation to consumer)
  4. Los Angeles billboard v newspaper war, 1917 (LA Times, April 2013).
  5. Betty Crocker reflects changes in women’s images over time
  6. Heinz products 
  7. Coca cola  
  8. Coke and Santa Claus
  9. McDonalds
  10. TV ads: the Flintstones for Winston cigarettes — And another Lucky Strike (1948) – and Doctors smoke Camels 
  11. TV ad –I like Ike – Eisenhower campagin Ads Daisey Ad, Vietnam film  
  12. TV ad — Ridley Scott talks about the Apple Mac 1984 ad.

Current issues in advertising and public relations

  1. Lawrence G. Foster: The man behind Johnson & Johnson’s 1982 Tylenol campaign. New York Times, Oct. 30, 2013.
  2. Big tobacco targets minority youth in California.  April 23, 2012.
  3. Ten ways to craft your resume for ultra-short attention spans.
  4. Smithsonian’s fake ads controversy
  5. Adbusters — Turning advertising upside down.
  6. The Yes Men — Public relations on behalf of the victim.
  7. Corporate public relations   is polluting the American psyche says Tracy Turner in this OpEd piece from May, 2012.
  8. Lite beer ads ruined everything says Kevin Horrigan.
  9. Don’t discount the Facebook advertising model says Greg La Blanc of Bloomberg. June 25, 2012.
  10. Branded content silos at Forbes will (supposedly) “shake up 100 years of journalism.”   ( Worth a read, but   Herb Schmertz was no visionary media hero. )
  11. Advertising sales has become a form of extortion in India, says the New York Times (Nov. 29, 2012)
  12. The new look of public relations,  New York Times, April 29, 2013
  13. What‘sbehind AdBusters?   Culture jammers don’t create an anarchist approach to consumerism;  instead, they  “uncool” consumer products.   But why?  November 2013.
  14. Five books on advertising that withstand the test of time, including a history of advertising that changed advertising.   Adweek. May 13, 2014.
  15. “The no-fault position … is that the entire (print advertising) industry is challenged, that it is on the wrong side of history, that, in effect, print, or even words themselves, no longer have a commercial value…  To deal with this cornucopia of choice, media buying became a separate marketing business, staffed by legions of entry-level marketing program graduates, nearly all subliterate and television-focused, creating an immediate problem for print.”  Michael Wolff, USA Today, Sept. 30, 2013.
  16. Energy and health firms use others to spread propaganda, Center for Public Integrity, April 13, 2015.
  17. Dominion energy company will fight ‘misinformation’ through social media. SNL, June 26, 2015.  Also see environmental group, “We are Cove Point,” for reaction.
  18. Social media vs bad press — Nieman reports, 2009. And more about social media tactics, 2011.