Since When Did “Advertising” Become a Dirty Word?

PACE_advertising wordAdvertising Age posed that question recently in a thought-provoking piece of the same title. We’ll share a few excerpts here, but we encourage you to read the whole piece on ( It’s a good, entertaining read.


PACE_bad-wordsInterestingly, we asked a very similar question over a year ago, in a piece written by PACE CEO Rick Nulman titled, “Why Did Advertising Become a 4-Letter Word?” Here’s what Rick had to say:

If you hate advertising, you’re going to love this sales pitch:

A wise man once said that marketing is one of those soft sciences where all you need to be an expert is an opinion. And ‘advertising’? Well, some say advertising is an old-school word that no longer defines what our industry does. It’s not advertising. It’s ‘marketing communications.’ It’s not salesmanship. It’s ‘building brand leadership’.

PACE_HorsefeathersHorsefeathers! We believe you need more than an opinion and the latest buzzwords in your vocabulary to do what we do. We believe you need talent, and creativity, and wisdom, and sound judgment, and objectivity, and unerring common sense, and a great sense of humor, and good old-fashioned salesmanship. David Ogilvy-style salesmanship.”



According to the Ad Age piece by Sean Cummins, advertising is a word we seldom hear anymore. Cummins traces the “de-advertising of the advertising industry back to that fateful day in the late 1990s when Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising changes its name to Saatchi & Saatchi Communications.” While our Rick Nulman laments the replacement of “advertising” with terms like “marketing communications” and “building brand leadership,” Cummins zeroes in on the new buzzword, “branded content.”

PACE_Branded Content

As Cummins says,

By removing the word ‘advertising’ from our industry, it effectively means that anyone with a camera device and a graphics package… can be in the industry formerly known as advertising. Because they are doing branded content.”

As Rick so classically put it, horsefeathers.

Cummins succinctly made this critical point:

Good advertising makes you do something – not passively sit and consume without any compulsion to do much other than ‘view’ or ‘like”… or ‘share.’ Advertising is a very powerful combination of communication, art, psychology and intuition. It is about selling. Not telling. And selling is a skill that requires a result – buying.”

AMENWe say a hearty AMEN to all of this.

We believe real advertising requires all those skills and traits that Rick pointed out: talent, creativity, wisdom, sound judgment, objectivity, unerring common sense, a great sense of humor, and good old-fashioned salesmanship. And because we believe all this, we believe we can help you do a better job than you could do yourselves, or with someone else.

PACE has a rare 65+ year history of successes. We bring extraordinary strategic, conceptual and implementation skills to our diverse client base – regardless of the media utilized. Websites, brochures, digital, mobile, print, TV, radio, identity, videos, eblasts, blogging, content marketing, SEO, apps, social media – we’ve spent our careers building our clients’ brands, and their sales.



So no more four-letter, dirty words. When you’re ready to reconsider your notion of “advertising,” let’s talk. We’d love to show you how truly effective real advertising can be for your business, your project or development, your hospital, or your organization.


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