Advertising: The Means Not The End

I stumbled upon an ad book called Mad Ave, edited by Jackie Merri Meyer. There are some great classic US ads in there, but also interesting written pieces by the likes of George Lois, Ed McCabe and Jerry Della Femina.

Anyway, this one particular quote from the great Ed McCabe caught my eye...
“Advertising has evolved into a business driven by megalomaniacs who know a lot about making money but little or nothing about making advertising. In some respects it's also being driven by “creatives,” who have it wrong to the opposite extreme. They believe the ad or commercial is everything and that winning awards is something. They've lost sight of the fact that advertising, in and of itself, isn't anything. Advertising's sole purpose is to be the cause of something else. To cause a sales increase. To cause a shift in perception. To cause the creation of an edifice of imagery that allows a product or service to be something. But advertising itself is nothing. Nothing but a means to an end. Only fools believe the the means is as important or significant as the end.”
Sounds like he has it spot-on to me.


  1. Oh, lordy, but the fact you have to point this out to people is so dismaying. Not an industry for grown ups.

  2. Wonder what he would make of this agency specializing in awards entry strategy? Reckon he wouldn't like it much at all.

  3. Jeff, I agree. I wonder if he would think it butt-clenchingly, fist-tighteningly, head-shakingly awful, a new sub-terrainean level to an industry that looked to have already plummeted to the very bottom of the ocean of credibility. Or maybe he'd just say "It's fucking nuts!" which of course is what it is.


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