The language of salesmanship was no doubt born with the first fashions in fig leaves in the garden of Eden. A strange concept has grown around it: if something is to be sold, inaccuracy is not immoral. Hence the art of advertisement - untruthfulness combined with repetition.
Fortunately, I'm able to make a living from comics, so I'm privileged enough to be quite choosy, though most cartoonists can't afford to be. It's really an uncomfortable situation, since I'm not an illustrator, though I do get calls from morally indefensible businesses offering me money to decorate their ambitions. It's extremely rare, almost unheard of, in fact, that I am asked to do a comic strip. Do writers get calls to pen Toyota advertisements? Do composers get asked to write chamber pieces about exercise machines?
Today, our attention is less than the television advertisement. We're looking at six or seven problems constantly. We're living in the disturbed societies of cities. I think modern technology is one of the worst things human beings have invented.
Goresthorpe Grange is a feudal mansion - or so it was termed in the advertisement which originally brought it under my notice. Its right to this adjective had a most remarkable effect upon its price, and the advantages gained may possibly be more sentimental than real. Still, it is soothing to me to know that I have slits in my staircase through which I can discharge arrows; and there is a sense of power in the fact of possessing a complicated apparatus by means of which I am enabled to pour molten lead upon the head of the casual visitor.
I do not regard advertising as entertainment or an art form, but as a medium of information. When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it ‘creative.’ I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product.
The ethical rule is from Samuel Johnson who believed that maintenance of easily removable ignorance by a responsible office holder was treacherous malfeasance in meeting moral obligation. The prudential rule is that underlying the old Warner & Swasey advertisement for machine tools: "The man who needs a new machine tool, and hasn't bought it, is already paying for it". The Warner & Swasey rule also applies, I believe, to thinking tools. If you don't have the right thinking tools, you, and the people you seek to help, are already suffering from your easily removable ignorance.