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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 7 (November 1, 1928)

Pro Bono Publico

Pro Bono Publico.

Now there are people who take serious moral objection to the whole process of advertising. Great thinkers have frowned upon it. But the worst of great thinkers is and always was that they do not think of everything! “Sometimes our indiscretions serve us well when our dear plots do fail.” We make all sorts of plans for the direct instruction and edification of the people, and we are often disappointed by their failure or only partial success.

And then advertising comes along. Assume it if you like to be an indiscretion, and yet look at its important and, on the whole, excellent results. It began in self but it has been overruled for good and has eventuated largely in service. Though it is still defaced by some sins against taste and others against truth, I do not think it would be possible to measure —certainly I know no gauge by which you could estimate the extent to which it has animated and instructed the people; raised the standard of life; awakened wants and, in awakening wants, stimulated effort; inculcated the ideals of comfort and cleanliness; held up happiness and health; taught the love and care of children and I know not how many other things that it is well for us to feel and to know —and how it teaches these lessons as lessons are best absorbed—by picture and story—avoiding those reactions which the moral teacher often provokes—rather defying the good than damning the bad.