With the arrival of the art director, however, came a great amount of debate. Aesthetic demands and the demands of commerce could not always be resolved amicably, and in the minds of some clients, they were diametrically opposed. A large portion of the responsibility for this tension rested on the need for advertising executives to legitimate their new profession. Ad men continued to be stigmatized in the American popular mind. As Roland Marchand says, "Novelists and playwrights portrayed the advertising man with 'little of the solid sterling worth of the banker, the lawyer, or the engineer,' thus denying him a proper dignity. In response, advertising leaders denounced all references to the 'advertising game,' shunned the popular term 'ad' in favor of the more dignified 'advertisement,' and, in a few instances, even sought to rechristen 'ad men' as 'consumption engineers'"(Marchand, 25).

One of the larger arguments of Marchant's Advertising the American Dream is that the "class image" cultivated in advertising literature was as much or more an outgrowth of the industry's own insecurities as it was an attempt to capture the zeitgeist of the larger culture. This is precisely why European aesthetic sensibilities appealed to the American ad men. They sought to acquire class capital that they might then retail to the average American consumer. Yet the need to maximize profits always intervened in their quest to gain status themselves. This was a tension built into the advertising industry even before the acquisition of European talent.

And so two visions of "professionalism" came about through this process of acquisition. On the one hand was the designer's vision of her craft as being constituted from dedication to beauty and form. On the other hand was a vision driven by results. To some, an ad which demonstrably boosted sales was by definition beautiful. These dual goals, however, never seemed congenial. The average housewife did not respond to the same aesthetic as Europeans and Americans with "class".