Wall Street History
Advertising: 1980s style
I have saved tons of articles and other assorted stuff over the
years, and little did I know I’d be able to use some of it on this
site. The other day I was going through a box of old articles and I
stumbled on copies of a long-running ad campaign that United
Technologies Corp. used to run in the Wall Street Journal; one of
the most famous in advertising history. Many of you will
recognize these they’re different and it gives me a little
break from my normal fare.
UTX ran these adverts in a column format for instance
When’s the last time
you sat in the
For my purposes, though, I’m going to run them in standard
fashion. [You shouldn’t lose much of the original intent.] Most
of what follows appeared in the early-to-mid 1980s; in other
words, during the era of Ronald Reagan and “Morning in
And if you’re in sales or marketing, I can guarantee you’ll find
something you can use in your presentations or seminars.
Where Do You Get Your Information?
When’s the last time you sat in the bleachers? When’s the last
time you heard a Jefferson Starship record? [More than a million
were sold last year.] Did you see Superman II? [It did $14
million its first weekend.] Do you read Reader’s Digest? [The
circulation is 31 million worldwide.] Have you seen the top 10
TV shows? When’s the last time you took a trip on a Greyhound
bus? How many times each month do you shop in a
supermarket? Have you seen evangelists on TV? [Viewers send
them millions of dollars.] Have you browsed through a card
shop? [Hallmark sells one billion cards a year.] Have you stood
on an assembly line? Gone down into a coal mine? Spent time
on a farm? If you don’t know what’s happening in other
people’s worlds, you can’t make good decisions in the business
Sometimes the decision to do nothing is wise. But you can’t
make a career of doing nothing. Freddie Fulcrum weighed
everything too carefully. He would say, “On the one hand but
then, on the other,” and his arguments weighed out so evenly he
never did anything. When Freddie died, they carved a big zero
on his tombstone. If you decide to fish – fine. Or, if you decide
to cut bait – fine. But if you decide to do nothing, you’re not
going to have fish for dinner.
Aim So High You’ll Never Be Bored
The greatest waste of our natural resources is the number of
people who never achieve their potential. Get out of that slow
lane. Shift into that fast lane. If you think you can’t, you won’t.
If you think you can, there’s a good chance you will. Even
making the effort will make you feel like a new person.
Reputations are made by searching for things that can’t be done
and doing them. Aim low: boring. Aim high: soaring.
Once An Acorn
Sometimes to make it big you first have to make it small.
Conrad Hilton started out sweeping floors in a dusty New
Mexico hotel. He cleaned up as owner of a famous hotel chain.
John Paul Getty started with a $500 oil lease in Oklahoma and
became one of America’s richest men. David Packard baked the
paint onto his first product in a kitchen oven. 45 years later, he
was running a $4.7 billion company. There are anonymous men
and women starting small today whose names will be household
words in 20 years. Will one of those names be yours? Get
It’s What You Do – Not When You Do It
Ted Williams, at age 42, slammed a home run in his last official
at bat. Mickey Mantle, age 20, hit 23 home runs his first full
year in the major leagues. Golda Meir was 71 when she became
Prime Minister of Israel. William Pitt II was 24 when he became
Prime Minister of Great Britain. George Bernard Shaw was 94
when one of his plays was first produced. Mozart was just seven
when his first composition was published. Now, how about this?
Benjamin Franklin was a newspaper columnist at 16, and a
framer of The United States Constitution when he was 81.
You’re never too young or too old if you’ve got talent. Let’s
recognize that age has little to do with ability.
Have You Looked In Your Backyard Lately?
Dr. Russell Conwell of Temple University once delivered a
lecture in which he told of a man in Titusville, Pennsylvania,
who sold his farm for $833 to look for oil in Canada. The fellow
who left Titusville never found oil, but the man who bought his
farm did – and launched a billion dollar industry. Today, with
faster communications and transportation, it’s not so important
where you are, or that the grass might be greener in the next
field. What counts is that piece of real estate between your ears.
Is it rich, fertile, productive? Or is it a wasteland? If it’s either,
a change in geography won’t matter. Unpack, and take a closer
look at your own backyard.
Something To Cheer About
If you sometimes think the front page and the evening TV news
bring nothing but doom and gloom, here’s something to make
you feel good about America: In a worldwide survey, it was
found that 84% of Americans take great pride in their work, vs.
36% of Europeans and 37% of Japanese. 71% of Americans
would be willing to fight for their country, vs. 43% of Europeans
and 22% of Japanese. Americans also lead in national pride
(80%). These are sparkling figures. They ought to be on the
A best-seller in 1776 was Tom Paine’s “Common Sense.”
Maybe someone should do a 1985 update. You have many
decisions to make every day. Just weigh your answer against the
simple question, “Does it make good, common sense?” If it
does, do it. If it doesn’t, don’t. Common sense says, don’t
smoke when you’re filling your gas tank. Don’t run through red
lights. Don’t overeat. Don’t spend more than you make.
Common sense is sometimes called horse sense. For good
reason. Have you ever seen a horse at the $2 window betting on
how fast a person can run?
We’re Gonna Miss Ya, Duke
[Ed. note: Appropriate as we just passed what would have been
John Wayne’s 100th birthday.]
When you came riding into town, varmints scrambled, dance hall
girls powdered their noses, and yellow-bellies ran for the hills.
You ambled into our hearts, stiffened our spines, and made us
From the sands of Iwo Jima to the gates of the Alamo, you taught
us all a lesson.
Sure, your movies were play-acting. But they showed that our
true strength is in our people. The worker on the production line,
the fighting man, truck driver, waitress, miner, farmer, nurse,
Wherever you’re going, Duke, roll yourself a smoke, take a slug
of whiskey, lean back, put a thumb under your suspenders – and
take pride that you taught us the meaning of true grit.
John Wayne gave more to America than he took from America.
How many of us can say the same?
More of these next week.