The Patriotic Pitch: Buy, America, Buy

"Ad after ad and public relations pitch after pitch has tumbled forth in the past month, using moral rectitude and chin-up perseverance to sell everything from cars to fashion to personal services to social outings to home products," writes Ann Gerhart. Plastic surgeons announce that they are continuing their monthly seminars "in keeping with the spirit of President Bush's message to return to business." A gym chain in New York advertises for new members by calling on flabby homeland protectors to "Keep America Strong." A new slogan from General Motors offers zero-percent financing on new cars to "Keep America Rolling." The combination of sloppy sentimentality, patriotism and crass commercialism offends Bob Garfield, an Advertising Age columnist for 16 years: "It's just gross to sell your products on the graves of these victims and their families," he said. "What the hell is the matter with these people that they believe they have every right to have the autumn 6,000-dead sale-abration?"