A tribute to and a lament for Marshall McLuhan.  Five days a week, Tuesday through Saturday, I present one of McLuhan’s observations and talk about its relevance today.  300 ideas. 300 days.  300 posts.

Is the ad so good you don’t need to buy the product?

Marshall McLuhan (1965?, age 54).  Congratulations!

Before I begin I want to say something.  As advertisers, as artists, I want to congratulate you.  Today, thanks to your achievements – because of the totally involving, participative nature of ads – people can enjoy the product without having to buy it.

Me (October, 2010, age 58).  Yes or no?.

I can’t remember where I read about McLuhan saying this, but I think it was in one of the biographies, a reference to a speech he made in New York to a Madison Avenue crowd in the mid 1960s.  But that’s not important.  The important question is whether it’s true.  Can ads allow you enjoy the product without having to buy it?  Here is a Pepsi ad from the 1960s which suggests McLuhan was closer to the truth than you first might have thought.

Cordially, Marshall and Me


Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media, 1964, p. 226.

Tags: , , , ,

Michael Hinton Thursday, October 7th, 2010
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Business, Vol. 1 1 Comment

1 Comment to Is the ad so good you don’t need to buy the product?

  • ‘For those who think young’

    … and here was me thinking that marketing our collective obsession with the fountain of youth was a later 20th century phenomenon.

    Get it? Fountain?

  • Leave a Reply