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Given the events of September 11, 2001, stating or implying that it is patriotic to purchase from a particular advertiser involves an obvious trade-off. On one hand lurks the possibility of criticism for, in effect, waving the flag for profit. On the other lurks the possibility of criticism for ignoring a patriotic theme at a time when such themes are nearly ubiquitous. Neither, however, may be the relevant issue. If advertising focuses attention on a company's patriotism, it isn't focusing attention on the goods or services that company is advertising. That, it is argued here, is the real trade-off.
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