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In Defense of Advertising: Arguments from Reason, Ethical Egoism, and Laissez-Faire Capitalism Paperback – January 2, 2007

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Editorial Reviews


". . . In Defense of Advertising is a very enjoyable and intellectually stimulating read. Not only does the book provide a number of powerful practical arguments, truly indispensable for anyone trying to take a hard-hitting stand against the opponents of marketing, but it also puts the somewhat neglected discussion of advertising in the very forefront of the battle for a free market economy. . . . [The book] has passed the [test of time] quite successfully." -- Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, Spring 2008

". . . a highly sophisticated theoretical thesis . . . [that] stimulates the reader to reflect on many social, economic, and moral issues." -- Sourthern Business and Economic Journal, October 1995

". . . an important advancement in the theory of advertising and its relationship to society." -- Journal of Consumer Affairs, summer 1995

"A unique, well-crafted, and timely book defending the existence of advertising to its many and varied critics." -- Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, spring 1995

"I was surprised at how much enlightening content Kirkpatrick was able to pack into a short book . . . In Defense of Advertising gives us, perhaps for the first time, a proper moral not merely `practical' justification for advertising, just as Ayn Rand did for capitalism and egoism . . . This is a book well worth reading--one that fully lives up to its advertised claims." -- The New Individualist, June 2007

"Scholarly . . . easy to read . . . rich with information and supported by numerous references." -- ForeWord Magazine, May-June 2007
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 204 pages
  • Publisher: TLJ Books (January 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0978780302
  • ISBN-13: 978-0978780302
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,468,685 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm Professor of International Business and Marketing at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 22, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book constitutes a thoroughgoing philosophic analysis and defense of virtually all aspects of advertising. It traces the criticisms made of advertising to false philosophic and economic doctrines, such as determinism and the theory of pure and perfect competition. It defends advertising against such accusations as that it is coercive and monopolistic, creates artificial needs, and erects barriers to entry. The intellectual foundations of these and practically all other accusations against advertising are laid bare and Prof. Kirkpatrick carefully develops the foundations and substance of the replies to them. In the process, he sets forth the very important positive role of advertising and demonstrates its actual benevolence. This is an essential book for anyone seriously interested in understanding and defending the role of advertising in a free market. It should be of exceptional interest to Objectivists, inasmuch as it is largely inspired by the ideas of Ayn Rand.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Reading It All VINE VOICE on February 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
Mr Kirkpatrick states the case for the role of advertising in a logical, reasonable and intellegent manner. This book should be required reading in every advertising classroom in the country. When I picked up this book I never expected to discover a professional that so passionately defends the importance of the postive role of advertising in a free-market system. Well written and an easy read.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Barry Linetsky on April 20, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this book, business professor Jerry Kirkpatrick argues that advertising is an effective and necessary method of salesmanship, and that the principles of salesmanship should define the standards and principles of effective advertising. For this reason, advertising is a valid and beneficial tool of entrepreneurs that must be informative and persuasive to be effective. Advertising communications is an important mechanism through which consumers gain information about ways to satisfy and achieve the values they seek, and therefore serves a positive and beneficial role in society.

Kirkpatrick's arguments are not directed towards those who dislike any particular ad for its low-brow qualities, but rather aimed high to refute those who stand against advertising per se, on principle.

The book addresses important key questions such as:

- What is the nature of advertising?

- Is persuasive advertising wasteful or harmful?

- Does advertising benefit consumer interests or is it anti-consumer?

- Should some people determine which products are beneficial to advertise and which are not?

- Does advertising create unnecessary market instability and unwarranted competitive pressures, or are these attributes inherent benefits of market competition?

- Does advertising unnecessarily increase prices thereby `exploiting' workers and consumers, or does it ultimately lower prices by increasing sales and reducing per unit costs, thereby benefiting workers and consumers?

The arguments presented by Kirkpatrick form a basic and fundamental philosophic and economic defense of advertising aimed at refuting those who argue that advertising per se is wasteful, coercive, and generally pernicious.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Reader Views on April 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
Reviewed by Stephanie Rollins for Reader Views (3/07)

"In Defense of Advertising" by Jerry Kirkpatrick is not a book for the general public. I do not believe that the general public realizes that advertising needs to be defended. I also believe that in order to fully grasp the concepts in "In Defense of Advertising," the reader needs to have a few semesters of economics under their belt.

For those who are interested in economics and advertising, Kirkpatrick does a brilliant job of combining philosophy, ethics, and economics to defend the need for advertising. As Kirkpatrick explained, "The critics who denigrate advertising attack not only advertising but also--by logic necessity--capitalism, ethical egoism, and reason."

Critics of advertising argue that it damages the economy. Critics claim that advertising create monopolies. It creates a barrier to the market and it increases price. Critics claim that it decreases price elasticity. "The brand loyalty, in turn, makes it difficult for competitors to enter the market and, at the same time, enables the advertiser to increase prices." In an era where all business owners want a "brand," critics argue that branding contributes to this monopoly that destroys free enterprise. "Brand loyalty of consumers, then, is the actual barrier that prevents other firms from entering the market."

Kirkpatrick explains the doctrine of determinism. This belief is based upon the idea that man does not have free will. If you follow this belief, people are controlled by forces outside themselves. Kirkpatrick explains that the doctrine of determinism is founded on the assumption that our bodies are always at war with our minds. Picture the cliché devil on one shoulder and angel on the other shoulder.
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