Wall Street History
Advertising: 1980s style, Part II
Continuing with our look at a famous advertising campaign by
United Technologies Corp., the following inspirational messages
appeared in the Wall Street Journal from 1981-86. There’s
something for everyone here, including perhaps a nugget or two
for those of you in sales.
The Dumbest Person In The World
How dumb? Very dumb. It’s the American who knocks what
he’s got. Here’s what he’s got: A country of unbounded beauty.
Almost unlimited natural resources. A judicial system that is the
envy of the rest of the world. Food so plentiful overeating is a
major problem. A press nobody can dominate. A ballot box
nobody can stuff. Churches of your choice. One hundred
million jobs. Freedom to go anywhere you want, with the
planes, cars and highways to get you there. Social Security.
Medicare. Unemployment insurance. Public schools and
plentiful scholarships. Opportunity to become a millionaire.
O.K., Complainer, what’s your second choice? Go.
A Day To Remember
If one day were singled out as the most important day of the 20th
Century, a good nominee would be May 8, 1945. V-E Day.
That day Hitler’s war machine was stopped. Forty years later we
can look back on the longest period in 1,000 years that European
nations have not been at war with each other. All people want
peace. But there is no automatic passport to peace. The peace of
appeasement resulted in World War II. A former President of
the U.S. gave priceless advice to everyone who wants to live in
peace; “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”
[Ed. The Balkan Wars came later.]
Do You Owe Something To An Eliza McCardle?
She met a tailor when he was twenty. He had never been to
school. She married him. Taught him to read, write, spell. He
learned fast. Became President. Inherited post-Civil War
reconstruction problems. Beat an impeachment rap by just one
vote after trying to fire his Secretary of War for justifiable
reasons. Bought Alaska from the Russians for $7 million. Lost
his try at a second term. Ran for U.S. Senate instead, and won.
His name? Andrew Johnson. America will reach its full
maturity when an Andrew does the same for an Eliza.
Don’t Be Afraid To Fail
You’ve failed many times, although you may not remember.
You fell down the first time you tried to walk. You almost
drowned the first time you tried to swim, didn’t you? Did you
hit the ball the first time you swung a bat? Heavy hitters, the
ones who hit the most home runs, also strike out a lot. R.H.
Macy failed seven times before his store in New York caught on.
English novelist John Creasey got 753 rejection slips before he
published 564 books. Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times, but he
also hit 714 home runs. Don’t worry about failure. Worry about
the chances you miss when you don’t even try.
The Sleeping Fox Catches No Poultry
We didn’t write that headline. Ben Franklin did. Get out of that
bed and get cracking, he was saying. Set your alarm for six, not
seven. If you think you do well after a two-martini lunch, see
what you do after a two-orange juice breakfast. Ben Franklin
didn’t spend a lot of time snoozing. Starting at age 13, with no
formal education, he accomplished more than almost any other
American since. “Plow deep while sluggards sleep,” he also
said. So hop out of the sack. Get up and go. The fox is wide
awake. He’ll grab all the chickens if you snooze.
Make Something Happen
You come out of a meeting and someone asks, “What
happened?” And you answer, “Nothing.” You sit in a legislative
gallery and someone sits down beside you and asks, “What’s
happening?” And you say, “Nothing.” Maybe that meeting
room and that gallery should have had the same sign hanging on
their walls that – so the story goes – a college football coach
pasted in his teams’ lockers: “Cause something to happen.” He
believed that if you didn’t make something happen with a good
block, your runner would go nowhere – and if you didn’t tackle,
the other team would run all over you. He sure caused
something to happen. He won more than 300 games. Bear
The Snake That Poisons Everybody
It topples governments, wrecks marriages, ruins careers, busts
reputations, causes heartaches, nightmares, indigestion, spawns
suspicion, generates grief, dispatches innocent people to cry in
their pillows. Even its name hisses. It’s called gossip. Office
gossip, shop gossip. Party gossip. It makes headlines and
headaches. Before you repeat a story, ask yourself: Is it true? Is
it fair? Is it necessary? If not, shut up.
[Ed. note: Or adopt my own dictum, “wait 24 hours.”]
Find A Leaking Ship
Many a foundering ship could be rescued by your ideas and
energy. A failing business, a scout troop, a church choir, a
public school, or a city council. Plenty of struggling
organizations are salvageable if they get the right kind of help.
Remember: America went from its greatest naval loss (Pearl
Harbor) to its greatest naval victory (Midway) in just six months.
So plug up the leaks, trim the sails and get going. Your effort
can make a difference.
The Two Penny Difference
If you earn a dollar and spend 99 cents, you’re o.k. But spend
$1.01 and you’re heading for trouble. Yet today spending seems
more fashionable than saving. What once was called poor
money management has become “deficit spending.” Whatever
it’s called, it leads to inevitable headaches for people, for
companies, and even governments. No new economic theory
beats this old favorite: a penny saved is a penny earned. As
Calvin Coolidge once said, “there is no independence quite so
important as living within your means.” Don’t let your
checkbook be the saddest book you ever read.
Thanks To Sue
When her family’s possessions were seized to pay off her
father’s business debts, she taught school to help support her
family. She worked for abolition and temperance. She was
arrested and fined. She found that women’s voices were falling
on deaf ears. She felt that those ears would continue to be deaf
until all women could vote. And for nearly 50 years she fought
for that right. It finally came 14 years after her death. And last
week more women voted in a presidential election than ever
before.  Susan B. Anthony showed what you can
accomplish with conviction and determination. Of course, it will
be a little easier now, thanks to Susan.
Your true value to society comes when someone says, “Let me
see your work.” Your glib tongue may open a door or two and
your artful use of the right fork may win an approving nod. But
the real test of your worth can be measured by the care you give
to the job in front of you: A budget to plan; A solo to play; A
report to draft; A leaky sink that needs fixing. Next time you
write a memo, make sure you get all the facts straight. Pay
attention to those details. Sweat the small stuff.
Can Eight Words Make a Better World?
Doctrines, credos, manifestos, laws, declarations, codes of ethics.
Ever since people have been able to communicate, they have
compiled words to live by. But the world is still troubled. Take
these words: honesty, workmanship, ambition, faith, education,
charity, responsibility, courage. Chances are four and a half
billion people won’t agree to live their lives by them. But think
how much better your life would be if just one person does.
This Will Make You Feel Better
If you sometimes get discouraged, consider this fellow: He
dropped out of grade school. Ran a country store. Went broke.
Took 15 years to pay off his bills. Took a wife. Unhappy
marriage. Ran for House. Lost twice. Ran for Senate. Lost
twice. Delivered speech that became a classic. Audience
indifferent. Attacked daily by the press and despised by half the
country. Despite all this, imagine how many people all over the
world have been inspired by this awkward, rumpled, brooding
man who signed his name simply, A. Lincoln.
Do You Remember Who Gave You Your First Break?
Someone saw something in you once. That’s partly why you are
where you are today. It could have been a thoughtful parent, a
perceptive teacher, a demanding drill sergeant, an appreciative
employer, or just a friend who dug down in his pocket and came
up with a few bucks. Whoever it was, had the kindness and the
foresight to bet on your future. Those are two beautiful qualities
that separate the human being from the orangutan. In the next 24
hours, take 10 minutes to write a grateful note to the person who
helped you. You’ll keep a wonderful friendship alive. Matter of
fact, take another 10 minutes to give somebody else a break.
Who knows? Someday you might get a nice letter. It could be
one of the most gratifying messages you ever read.
Wall Street History returns next week.