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Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.
Howard Aiken
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Advertising is paid communication through a non-personal medium in which the sponsor is identified and the message is controlled.


Listed in chronological order.

  • You can tell the ideals of a nation by its advertisements.
  • Living in age of advertisement, we are perpetually disillusioned. The perfect life is spread before us every day, but it changes and withers at a touch.
    • J. B. Priestley, "The Disillusioned", 1929; in The Balconinny, and Other Essays, 1969, p. 30.
  • It is never silent, it drowns out all other voices, and it suffers no rebuke, for is it not the voice of America? [...]
    It has taught us how to live, what to be afraid of, how to be beautiful, how to be loved, how to be envied, how to be successful. [...]
    Is it any wonder that the American population tends increasingly to speak, think, feel in terms of this jabberwocky? That the stimuli of art, science, religion are progressively expelled to the periphery of American life to become marginal values, cultivated by marginal people on marginal time?
    • James Rorty, Our Master's Voice: Advertising (New York: John Day, 1934); pages 32-33, 70-72, 270.
  • The Federal Radio Commission has interpreted the concept of public interest so as to favor in actual practice one particular group ... the commercial broadcasters.
  • "Papa, what is the moon supposed to advertise?"
  • From any cross-section of ads, the general advertiser's attitude would seem to be: if you are a lousy, smelly, idle, underpriveleged and oversexed status-seeking neurotic moron, give me your money.
  • Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, and the trouble is I don't know which half.
  • It is sometimes argued that advertising really does little harm because no one believes it any more anyway. We consider this view to be erroneous. The greatest damage done by advertising is precisely that it incessantly demonstrates the prostitution of men and women who lend their intellects, their voices, their artistic skills to purposes in which they themselves do not believe, and that it teaches [in the words of Leo Marx] ‘the essential meaninglessness of all creations of the mind: words, images, and ideas.’ The real danger from advertising is that it helps to shatter and ultimately destroy our most precious non-material possessions: the confidence in the existence of meaningful purposes of human activity and respect for the integrity of man.
    • Paul Baran and Paul Sweezy, 1964
    • quoted by Robert W. McChesney & John Bellamy Foster in "The Commercial Tidal Wave" in Monthly Review (3/2003)
  • The sponsor may be viewed as a potentate with a strong influence over currents of thought in our society, exercised mainly through television [...] It has tended to displace or overwhelm other influences such as newspapers, school, church, grandpa, grandma. It has become the definer and transmitter of society's values.
  • Advertising reaches out to touch the fantasy part of people's lives. And you know, most people's fantasies are pretty sad.
  • Society drives people crazy with lust and calls it advertising.


  • Advertising may be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it.
  • I honestly believe that advertising is the most fun you can have with your clothes on.
  • In the Popular Media world of today over eating is dangerous, under eating is self-destructing and those who do neither simply complain that we see too much of both.
  • Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket.
  • Advertising is the modern substitute for argument; its function is to make the worse appear the better.
  • Advertising is a valuable economic factor because it is the cheapest way of selling goods, particularly if the goods are worthless.

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