ads without products

“profitable without necessarily being crass”

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I.A. Richards in Principles of Literary Criticism (1924/1926):

The critic and the Sales Manager are not ordinarily regarded as of the same craft, nor are the poet and the advertising agent. It is true that some serious artists are occassionally tempted into poster designing. It is, however, doubtful whether their work pays. But the written appeals which have the soundest financial prospects as estimated by the most able American advertisers are such that no critic can safely ignore them. For they do undoubtedly represent the literary ideals present and future of the people to whom they are addressed. They are tested in a way which few other forms of literature are tested, their effects are watched by adepts whose livelihood depends upon the accuracy of their judgement, and they are among the best indicies available of what is happening to taste. Criticism will justify itself as an applied science when it is able to indicate how an advertisement may be profitable without necessarily being crass. We shall see later under what conditions popularity and possible high value are compatible.

And the very next paragraph blurs the logic of poetry itself into the logic that has to be that of the less cynical ad writer, who fancies himself or herself to simply an engineer constructing the conduits that facilitate the efficient meeting and mating of individual choice and the offerings of the market.

The strongest objection to, let us say, the sonnet we have quoted, is that a person who enjoys it, through the very organization of his responses which enables him to enjoy it, is debarred from appreciating many things which, if he could appreciate them, he would prefer.

The bad poem, then, is bad because it at once erodes the capability to receive a better poem, and with a better poem, better attitudes and expectations about life and the world. Lots to say about this, but for now, see the relevance in light of this?

Written by adswithoutproducts

June 9, 2008 at 10:33 am

Posted in ads, aesthetics

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