I suspect that I might not hate advertising, at least not with a passion so far beyond reason, if more advertising execs were like David Ogilvy, whom Doc Searls says “was to advertising what Shakespeare was to theatre”. There are online bios here and here. There are Ogilvy quotes all over the place, and they paint a picture of that rara — indeed I’d have said extinct — avis, an honest advertiser:
The consumer is not a moron. She is your wife.
I always use my clients’ products. This is not toady-ism, but elementary good manners.
If you tell lies about a product, you will be found out – either by the Government, which will prosecute you, or by the consumer, who will punish you by not buying your product a second time.
Of course, some of them suggest that he came from a time when television was not so dominant a cultural force:
Advertising reflects the mores of society, but it does not influence them.
Does advertising corrupt editors? Yes it does, but fewer editors than you may suppose… the vast majority of editors are incorruptible.
If this piqued your interest, Ogilvy wrote three books, Confessions of an Advertising Man (1963), Ogilvy on Advertising (1983), and Blood, Brains and Beer (1978, reissued 1997 as An Autobiography). The first two are apparently classics in the field.