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.

The truth about advertising.

Marshall McLuhan (1977, age 66).  What we know that isn’t true

Much of what people take for granted about advertising simply isn’t true.  Common sense says people read advertisements and then buy the product.  Yet as David Ogilvy says research shows people only read the advertisement after they’ve bought the product.

Me (May 2010, age 57)   What is true?

In the City as Classroom Marshall McLuhan examines some of the false assumptions people commonly make about advertising.  One of those assumptions, he says, is that advertising is designed to sell things to everybody.  It can be easily seen this is not true, as McLuhan says, by imagining who any given advertisement is directed at.  For example, consider this small advertisement from the New Yorker:

Don’t self-publish alone!

Publishing can be maddeningly complicated.  At Vantage Press our experts have simplified the process for over 20,000 authors.  Use our fulltime service approach to publish your best book now.

Who is the audience this simple, scare-tactic ad is directed at?  Is it you?

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading for this post

Marshall McLuhan, Kathryn Hutchon, and Eric McLuhan, City as Classroom:  Understanding Language and Media, 1977,   pp. 158.

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Michael Hinton Saturday, May 29th, 2010
Permalink 1970s and 80s, Business, Communication, Vol. 1 No Comments

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