13 January 2012

A Treasury of Ad Quotations


"It is a good thing for an educated man" wrote Churchill "to read books of quotations."

This from a man whose quotes fill entire chapters in todays books of quotes. Not that he didn't earn his place:  Churchill is said to have slaved for countless hours and days over the precise wording of his speeches.  "No one knows how hard Winston works" said a friend, "slaving over his spontaneous remarks."

Great quotes are empowering.  Energizing.  No less so with quotes about advertising. 

The University of Texas gathered a treasure of amazing quotes about the ad business, which for me served as a staple while writing The Age of Persuasion.

Here are a few of these treasures.




"To explain responsibility to advertising men is like trying to convince an eight-year-old that sexual intercourse is more fun than a chocolate ice cream cone."

                                                     - Howard Luck Gossage

* * *
"I warn you against believing that advertising is a science."

                                                     - William Bernbach
 * * *

"Don't tell my mother I'm in advertising.  She thinks I play piano in a whorehouse."
                                                                         -Jacques Seguela 





 * * *



 

"I don't think the advertisers have any real idea of their power not only to reflect but to mold society."
                                                       - Marya Mannes



 * * *
 "Yes, I sell people things they don't need. I can't, however, sell them something they don't want. Even with advertising. Even if I were of a mind to."

                                                       - John O'Toole

 * * *
"I saw a subliminal advertising executive, but only for a second."

                                                       - Steven Wright

 * * *
"If advertising had a little more respect for the public, the public would have a lot more respect for advertising."

                                                - James Randolph Adams

* * *

"Our job is to sell our clients' merchandise . . . not ourselves. Our job is to kill the cleverness that makes us shine instead of the product. Our job is to simplify, to tear away the unrelated, to pluck out the weeds that are smothering the product message."

                                                       - William Bernbach

* * *

"Good copy can't be written with tongue in cheek, written just for a living. You've got to believe in the product."

                                                       - David Ogilvy

* * *

"We see advertising actually creating and naming taboos. The most famous, B.O. and Halitosis, are archaeological specimens from an age which we might fix as either Late Iron Tonic or Early Soap . . . . Bad breath and body odor have always existed, of course, but as individual matters. To transfer them from personal idiosyncrasies into tribal taboos is a magicianly trick indeed."

                                                           - Howard Luck Gossage

* * *

"Rarely have I seen any really great advertising created without a certain amount of confusion, throw-aways, bent noses, irritation and downright cursedness."

                                                      - Leo Burnett
* * *


"Can advertising foist an inferior product on the consumer? Bitter experience has taught me that it cannot. On those rare occasions when I have advertised products which consumer tests have found inferior to other products in the same field, the results have been disastrous."
                                                     - David Ogilvy
* * *
"The law requires a paper towel ad to be scrupulously honest, but allows political candidates to lie without reproach. What's wrong with this picture?"
                                                     - Jef I. Richards
 * * *
 "All of us who professionally use the mass media are the shapers of society. We can vulgerize that society. We can brutalize it. Or we can help lift it onto a higher level."
                                                     - William Bernbach

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