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By Arthur H Tafero



I am a professor of marketing because I enjoy it immensely. I love watching the creativity of my university students develop from observers to proactive marketing maniacs. Some get it and others do not; just like in real life on Madison Avenue. I had the good fortune to fail at advertising at a very tender age (18) and retreat into cost accounting on Wall Street. I was more comfortable with numbers. I just did not have the creativity it took to go to the next level of my advertising agency. We parted on friendly terms and I learned a lot while I was there.

In 1965, advertising was still a business in its developmental stages. TV advertising was still a mystery to most advertising agencies on Madison Avenue at the time. Olgilvy and Mather seemed to be quite good at it, but many other agencies floundered in that venue. There were no computers to do easy research then. Everything had to be done with books, libraries and going out to take surveys. Research was a bit more physically demanding then. There were no cell phones to store data. You did a lot of writing on yellow note pads. Researchers used to get cramps in their hands from taking so many notes.

There was no internet, no Wikipedia, no search engines or even a place to store data. Data processing was kept on keypunch cards and printed out on bulky paper that went on and on with boring black on white numbers and text. You could go blind or go to sleep just reading them for one hour. Every company had files; and I mean a LOT of files. Paper files. A place like Metropolitan Life Insurance had FLOORS of offices that had nothing but paper files. How people could work there and maintain their sanity was beyond me.

Yep, advertising was still an inexact science (and still is for that matter) in 1965. There were clumsy TV ads with dancing cigarette boxes of Chesterfield, terrible radio spots with some academic (like myself) coming on to EXPLAIN why you should buy a certain product that would increase your brain capacity, lackluster newspaper ads that had no captions under their pictures or headlines for their ad, and some really horrendous billboards on the way down to Florida that practically had half the Constitution written on them while you were driving past at sixty miles an hour and had about five seconds to read it.

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