Many years ago, when I first began my career in broadcasting, the advertising manager addressed a staff meeting. He made a statement that has stuck with me ever since then. “If you want to get anywhere in life, you have to toot your own horn.”
Before and since then, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with promotions and advertising. Most of my life, I’ve supported myself by working in media that owes its existance to advertising and promotion (horn tooting). Much of it has been fun, in and of itself. Creating and producing advertising is actually quite entertaining and fun. When a paying sponsor went out of her way to compliment the producer and station as to the effectiveness of the ad, I felt more than vindicated. I was encouraged to do more and better ads.
Knowing that it’s important to introduce consumers to vendors and products is common knowledge. Still, people, including myself, harbor reservations about the advertising business. In the back of our minds, we think there’s something less than honest about the whole affair. There’s the taint of sleeziness to some advertising. Much advertising has the aim of selling us lots of stuff we simply do not need. We all know this but have accepted advertising as a fact of life in the modern world anyway.
Some salespersons claim that advertising is the second oldest profession on earth. The assertion may be correct. In one way or another, we have always needed to bring attention to ourselves for survival and reproduction. This certainly isn’t restricted to humans. Look at birds. Males have evolved to display colorful feathers to attract attention to themselves. Other species also have taken on the aspect of colors or behavior to promote themselves.
“Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.”–Mark Twain
Humans have certainly promoted themselves with words and objects. The anecdotal evidence remains, today. There are cave paintings from prehistoric times. Pyramids in Africa and Meso America along with writing and art from those civilizations abounds. It has never ceased.
Indeed, promotion and advertising has come to the masses. Do I need to mention Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media? We’re promoting ourselves constantly.
“Man will do many things to get himself loved, he will do all things to get himself envied.”–Mark Twain
This has brought me to another concern about this field. I think we’ve burnt ourselves out. It seems like everyone and their company is clamoring for attention. Count me in, too.
Life is more ephemeral than it used to be. Community and real face time with other individuals of our species is becoming rarer. Dare I say it, our times have been taken over by advertising. We advertise on the media in our search to quell our modern alienation and loneliness. We advertise and search advertising for in our search for life partners.
Is this alarming? Is it OK? I don’t know for sure. It seems to be the indication of more to come. Like it or not, advertising is going to be around for quite awhile longer.
The Blue Jay of Happiness advertises an archived post about our stuff. This appeared here one year ago: