Herman Wouk in his essay A Talk on Advertising talks about the negative features of advertising. He considers advertising job as cheating people and earning more money.
The author goes to Marquis’ office on his invitation. In his office, Herman Wouk finds different things used by an advertiser. The office was filled with many pictures, captions, models, etc. The author takes this invitation as a chance to assault advertisement.
The Evil of advertisement
Herman Wouk opens the essay by asking many questions about the basic needs of human beings. He asks why people eat. He answers that people eat because they feel hungry. They pay money and get their food. The shopkeeper gets money and serves food. But people today are not satisfied with ordinary food. They drink wine, smoke, and eat unhealthy food. The author blames advertisement for making people to eat all these.
Abuse of Language and Arts
Herman then talks on how advertisers abuse language. He takes a product named “Aurora Dawn”. The word aurora mean early morning. The word dawn mean early morning. Herman scolds the advertisers for unnecessarily repeating the words with same meaning. Herman then takes a shampoo named “double-bubble”. Shakespeare first used the word double-bubble. The advertisers abuses Shakespeare by using his words for a cheap product like a shampoo.
Abuse of nature
The author then talks about the real-estate businessmen who consider the lands to be their own and not as god given. They daringly use the caption “come buy” for the lands given by god.
He then talks about a serious problem. He calls the youths going towards cities with the aim of joining advertisement field as dismal pilgrimage. He says that not all the youths become a success and many lose their lives.
The author concludes he essay by apologizing for assaulting advertising. He also wishes that at least two persons would leave the advertisement job on reading his essay.