…advertising in essentially un-English…Advertising, and by extension all forms of marketing and selling, is by definition boastful – and therefore fundamentally at odds with one of the guiding principles of English culture.
For once, however, our self-imposed constraints have had a positive effect: advertising does not fit our system of values, so, rather than abandon our unwritten rules, we have twisted and changed the rules of advertising, and developed a form of advertising that allows us to comply with the modesty rule. The witty, innovative advertising for which the English are, I am told by people in the trade, internationally renowned and much admired, is really just our way of trying to preserve our modesty.
That is from Kate Fox’s excellent Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour. If you enjoy the blogging of Grant McCracken, or simply wish to understand the English better, this book is for you.