"Promise, large promise, is the soul of an advertisement."
Advertising is proclamation. Advertising is the transmission of information. Everyone proclaims. Everyone informs. Come to my party. You’ll love this book. Look! Those cats are fighting! From the ancient messenger to the town crier to the shop sign, advertising was long thought harmless, indeed useful. But now we live in a world of constant salesmanship. Wherever we look, we see adverts. We become inured.
Whoever first thought up the idea of selling the news of battles and sieges so he could advertise powder puffs was, as Samuel Johnson put it, a man of great sagacity. Johnson was an early theorist of advertising, proclaiming that “In an advertisement it is allowed to every man to speak well of himself” and “Promise, large promise, is the soul of an advertisement.” These are still the two main principles of advertising, however much the creatives in modern agencies pretend everything has changed.
So often, modern adverts speak well of a company, but do not make a promise. Boasting with a promise is enticing; boasting alone is dull.