Larson Online Financial Services, Inc.

Ads are bullshit

“…in other words, Celebrity Cruises is presenting Conroy’s review of his 7NC Cruise as an essay and not a commercial. This is extremely bad. Here is the argument for why it’s bad. Whether it honors them well or not, an essay’s fundamental obligations are supposed to be to the reader. The reader, on however unconscious a level, understands this, and thus tends to approach an essay with a relatively high level of openness and credulity. But a commercial is a very different animal. Advertisements have certain formal, legal obligations to truthfulness, but these are broad enough to allow for a great deal of rhetorical maneuvering in the fulfillment of an advertisement’s primary obligation, which is to serve the financial interests of its sponsor. Whatever attempts an advertise- ment makes to interest and appeal to its readers are not, finally, for the reader’s benefit.”

–David Foster Wallace, “A Supposedly Funny Thing I’ll Never Do Again”, 1995

communication June 7 2022

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