Advertising confuses itself with showbiz.
Some people in advertising honestly think of themselves as celebrities,
They believe that what they do is so important they lead the public rather than follow.
In short, some of us believe our own hype.
We believe the world revolves around advertising, rather than that advertising revolves around the world.
We think of everyone and everything only in terms of what we do.
The correct term for this is hubris.
Marion Harper was was the founder of Needham Harper and Steers, a massive Madison Avenue advertising giant in the fifties.
He came into the studio of his agency one day.
It was lunchtime and it was empty, except for one scruffy teenager listening to a transistor radio.
Harper was furious at such behaviour.
He said, “Son, how much do you earn?”
The kid said, “$100 a week.”
Harper pulled out a wad of cash and peeled off $200.
He said, “We don’t allow people to listen to the radio while they’re working. Here’s two weeks money. I want you to leave the agency this minute.”
The kid said, “Okay, sure.”
Then he took his radio and left.
As soon as he’d gone the studio manager appeared.
He said, “Hi Mr. Harper. You didn’t see the Pizza delivery guy around here, did you?”
You might have thought that would be enough to make Marion Harper realise where advertising fits in the real world.
But it seems not.
One morning at about 7.45, he phoned the office to check what time the staff were arriving.
The phone rang several times before a someone eventually picked it up.
A young man said, “Yeah?”
Marion Harper shouted, “That’s no way to answer the phone you moron.”
The young man said, “Fuck you.”
Marion Harper , “Do you know who this is?”
The young man said, “No”
He said, “This is Marion Harper, Chairman of the agency.”
The young man said, “Okay, do you know who this is?”
Marion Harper said, “No”
The young man said, “Well then, fuck you” and hung up.