Saturday, May 2, 2015

The First Law of Advertising, and Passenger Rail Puffery

       Image result for puffery advertising

As usual, we were reading our weekend edition Wall Street Journal at breakfast this morning, and came across an item on the opinion pages that captured our fancy.  It’s under the “Business World” by-line of Holman Jenkins, Jr.  It may capture yours as well, unless you lock it up in a closet to keep it safe.

                       Image result for puffery advertising 

This week’s column is titled “Chipotle vs. Science,” with this sub-head: “Health-food advertising depends on the eagerness of the customer to be fooled.”

These two passages in particular struck us:

Stuart Chase, an FDR aide who coined the term “New Deal” and began his career as a food-safety regulator, once said: “The very first law in advertising is to avoid the concrete promise and cultivate the delightfully vague.”

….noting that millennials think “real sugar” is a health food, and that “organic, non-GMO products” are the epitome of nutrition “even if they are high-salt, high-sugar, high-fat.”

You can read the entire column here:

As you do, see, if  like us, you detect some of the same advertising “theology” employed in selling the numerous benefits of passenger rail travel, and especially the economic stimulus it can generate, if only millions regularly subsidize it.

                                 Image result for puffery advertising 

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