Sidney Bernstein stood as one of the foremost defenders of advertising for the positive role it plays in the dynamic U.S. economy. He worked unceasingly to encourage the practitioners of advertising and marketing to do their utmost to advance their craft as an instrument for the good of society. Along the way in his more than half-century career, he never shied away for chiding the industry or its educators when he felt criticism was warranted.
During his years with Advertising Age, from 1939 to 1970, he insisted the publication be tough, vigorous and unafraid in reporting the facts of advertising and marketing news accurately and fairly. While he served as editor, Ad Age became known as "the bible of the industry" and Sidney Bernstein as "the conscience of advertising." He continued to advise and guide the industry with his sage weekly "con-Siderations."
To encourage a closer relationship between academia and advertising practitioners, he continually urged professionals to return to the college campus as lecturers and visiting professors and did so himself at several universities. He was a fellow of the American Academy of Advertising and a recipient of its award for distinguished service.
Sidney Bernstein has always contended that the advertising business must owe its first allegiance to the good and welfare of society, commenting that "the better you serve the public, the better you serve yourself."
While a strong defender of the right to advertise, he always insisted that it was a right laden with obligations. As he wrote in Advertising Age, "Because we believe in the basic essential values of advertising, we have not hesitated to criticize ¿ vigorously and positively ¿ the things advertisers may do which we fell perform a disservice for advertising."