Thursday, April 20, 2023

Quote of the Day (Edna St. Vincent Millay, Viewing Advertising a Century Ago)

“To the dealer in advertising, man does not live by reason. In a situation not covered by some catch phrase, he is helpless."—Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950), “Say Shibboleth,” Vanity Fair, April 1923

When Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote this in the Roaring Twenties, the advertising industry was evolving from simply announcing a new product to persuading consumers that it couldn’t possibly live without it.

But imagine how she would have reacted if she had managed to live two decades longer, into the “Mad Men” era!

(For a crisply written summary of advertising in the 1920s and how it compares to today, I urge you to read Maggie Terry’s blog post on the Website for the Alabama firm Auburn Advertising.)

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