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It is often said that the American Free Enterprise System is the eighth wonder of the world and the average American's lack of understanding of what it is and why it works is the ninth wonder of the world. In today's times of mass communication, many of us are somewhat bewildered by the tremendous number of advertising messages, of one kind or another, that are directed to our attention on a day-by-day basis. But have you personally ever stopped to consider where our nation would be, if business people did not have the freedom to advertise the products and services they produce?

Just as most of the automobiles in the world today run on gasoline and must have oil or some type of lubricant to keep their internal parts from wearing out, marketing and advertising are the gas and oil that power the American Free Enterprise System. When new products and services are produced and available for purchase, apart from word of mouth, the only way the producer can spread the word is through the medium of advertising.

Most business people understand and accept the necessity of advertising, which is the main reason we are inundated with so many advertising messages. The various ways a business can advertise its products is limitless, but there is an irony in the way most business people go about it. When business is good and they have the capital to advertise they do, but when business is bad and capital is low, the first thing most of them do is cut back on their advertising. The truth is, it should be the other way around. A business should spend most of its advertising budget when business is slow and cut back when business is good.

Sometime back a friend handed me a little card with a caption that said, "NEGATIVE THINKING" and the message it contained was so good that I wanted to share it with you. It begins, "A man lived by the side of the road and sold hamburgers. He was hard of hearing so he had no radio. He had trouble with his eyes so he watched no television and read no newspaper, but he sold good hamburgers. He did however, advertise in the local newspaper telling people how good they were. He stood by the side of the road and cried, "Buy a hamburger mister?" and people bought. He increased his meat and roll orders and bought a bigger stove to take care of his trade. His son came home from college to help him and then something happened.

His son said, "Father, haven't you been listening to what people are saying? If money stays tight, we are bound to have bad business. There may be a big recession coming on, you had better prepare for poor trade. Whereupon this man thought, "Well, my son has been to college. He listens to the radio, watches television and reads the newspaper and he ought to know". So, he cut down on his meat and roll orders. He cut out his advertising and no longer bothered to stand by the road to sell hamburgers, and his sales fell almost over night. "You're right son", the father said to the boy. "We are certainly headed for a recession".

When I first read this story it kinda reminded me of the ol' boy who was doing great making a nice 2% profit. He was buying it for $1.00 and selling it for $3.00. The principle or the moral of this column should be fairly obvious. When we are doing something constructive to serve others, we are better off, even though we may fail, than to let "negative thinking people" make our decisions for us. In closing I would like to leave you with this quotation by E.T. Meredith, former Secretary Of U.S. Agriculture. "The man who fails to advertise just because conditions are a little uncertain is on par with the farmer who refuses to feed his cows because the price of butter has gone down."

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