The Advertiser's Perspective
THE BASIC FACT to remember about advertising," Jeremy Tunstall wrote in his study of British advertising agencies, "is that little is known about what effect it has; even to talk of advertising having an effect is misleading." 1 This is not exact. More precisely, much is known about the effects of advertising, but the results do not, and by the very character of business practice, cannot add up to a simple or consistent conclusion.
Manufacturers and retailers who want to use their advertising dollars efficiently worry about the effectiveness of advertising. So do advertising media that live off advertising revenue and seek to encourage businesses to advertise. So do advertising workers themselves. One of the fathers of American advertising, George Rowell, reminisced in 1905 about advertising in the 1860s, and observed:
Then as now the idea that "advertising always pays" was promulgated and the assertion was made then as frequently as now, and is now made as frequently as then that advertising does not amount to anything and is a waste of money. 2