History and Modern Advertising in the 60s and 70s Part 3

About the history of advertising in the 60s and 70s, modern advertising as competition, different company advertising policy.


In January, 1974, supercorporation ITT unveiled a $6 million ad drive to improve its image. ITT felt that its veneer of respectability had been dented by such widely publicized scandals as the undercover financing of the Republican party, the destruction of democratic governments (Chile), and lying about building bodies 12 ways. ITT introduced the corporate-image promotional scheme behind the slogan "The Best Ideas Are the Ideas That Help People."

The J. Walter Thompson advertising agency has billings of over $800 million and employs 6,000 people in 26 countries. Thompson has created advertising for the French police, "Thank you, guardians of the peace," which was ridiculed throughout the country. In 1974, the fascist Government of Chile hired J. Walter Thompson to promote a new and cleaner image of itself around the world. J. Walter Thompson also organized classes to teach corporation executives how to act when being interviewed by the press or when appearing before congressional committees.

Linda Lovelace starred in an ad for M & J Shoes, Encino, Calif., in 1973. And in the winter, the industry was hit with "Light Flu Season Disappoints Advertisers of Cold Remedies" (Advertising Age). It was a period of contrary events and strange bedfellows, but it was also a time of growing awareness of how the industry was harming our minority groups.

The U.S. Information Agency puts out 36 regular periodicals in 29 languages. Its purpose is to advertise and promote the Government's version of the American way of life. The Voice of America, with a budget of $50 million a year, employs 2,300 people and broadcasts 800 hours a week in 36 languages. The USIA produces more than 1,000 movies and TV shows per year which are used by more than 2,000 TV stations in 97 countries, but are not allowed to be shown in the U.S.

Paul Baran and Paul Sweezy, 2 widely respected economists, have written: "Far from being a relatively unimportant feature of the system, [advertising] has advanced to the status of one of its decisive nerve centers. In its impact on the economy, it is outranked only by militarism. In all other aspects of social existence, its all-pervasive influence is 2nd to none."

Because of large monopolies and oligopolies of industry, such as the telephone company or the oil corporations, price competition is no longer a real factor; ads become the principal way of competing in the marketplace.

Here is a memo from the advertising director of Richard Nixon's 1968 campaign, Harry Treleavan, formerly with J. Walter Thompson: "It is part of the discipline of sound advertising to put down, as briefly as possible, the advertising proposition'--the simplest expression of the message we want to communicate. This is not the theme or slogan; the words of the proposition may never appear in advertising; yet all advertising must communicate the thought of the proposition. The proposition for the Nixon for President primary advertising can be stated like this: 'There's an uneasiness in the land. A feeling that things aren't right. That we're moving in the wrong direction. That none of the solutions to our problems are working. That we're not being told the truth about what's going on. The trouble is in Washington. Fix that and we're on our way to fixing everything. . . .And of all the Republicans, the most qualified for the job by far is Richard M. Nixon. More than any other Republican candidate for the presidency, Richard Nixon will know what has to be done--and he'll know the best way to get it done. We'll all feel a whole lot better knowing he's there in Washington running things instead of somebody else.'" (The Selling of the President, 1968 by Joe McGinniss.)

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