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Advertising Quotes

  • "Society once did a deal accepting advertising because it seemed occasionally useful and interesting and because it paid for lots of journalism and entertainment. It’s not necessarily going to pay for those things for much longer, so we might start questioning whether we want to live in a Blade Runner world brought to us by Cillit Bang."
    Sir Howard Davies (1951–), British former chairman of the Financial Services Authority
    Source: Observer (London) (January 2, 2011)
  • "Over the next few years we’re going to be interrupted by advertising like never before. Video screens are getting so cheap and disposable that they’ll be plastered everywhere we go. And they’ll have enough intelligence and connectivity that they’ll see our faces, do a quick search on Facebook to find out who we are and direct a message at us based on our purchasing history. At least, that’ll be the idea. It probably won’t work very well and when it does work it’ll probably drive us mad."
    Russell Davies, British advertising executive and journalist
    Source: Observer (London) (January 2, 2011)
  • "The Mass Audience is made up of individuals, and good advertising is written always from one person to another. When it is aimed at millions it rarely moves anyone."
    Fairfax Cone (19031977), US advertising executive
    Source: Quoted in The Art and Science of Marketing (Grahame Robert Dowling, 2004)
  • "Whatever happens, you get your pet back."
    Anonymous
    Slogan of a Manhattan firm founded by two brothers, one a vet, the other a taxidermist.
    Source: Quoted in Architect's Journal (July 13, 2000)
  • "Tell me quick and tell me true, what your product’s going to do, or else, my love, to hell with you."
    Anonymous
    Source: Quoted in Marketing (July 2000)
  • "Don’t focus on the mink, but what’s in it."
    Jane Trahey (19232000), US copywriter and author
    Speaking about her famous advertising campaign for Blackglama fur.
    Source: Quoted in the New York Times (2000)
  • "I know half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, but I can never find out which half."
    John Wanamaker (18381922), US businessman
    Source: Quoted in “How to Acquire Customers on the Web,” Harvard Business Review (Donna L. Hoffman and Thomas P. Novak, 2000)
  • "Good advertising can make people buy your product even if it sucks … A dollar spent on brainwashing is more cost-effective than a dollar spent on product improvement."
    Scott Adams (1957–), US cartoonist and humorist
    Source: The Dilbert Principle (1996)
  • "Advertising is the ability to sense, interpret … to put the very heart throbs of a business into type, paper, and ink."
    Leo Burnett (18911971), US advertising executive and author
    Source: Quoted in Leo Burnett: Star Reacher (Joan Kufrin, 1995)
  • "Society drives people crazy with lust and calls it advertising."
    John Lahr (1941–), US writer and critic
    Source: Guardian (London) (August 1989)
  • "When you have nothing to say, sing it."
    David Ogilvy (19111999), British advertising executive, founder and chairman of Ogilvy & Mather
    Source: Ogilvy on Advertising (1983)
  • "Time spent in the advertising business seems to create a permanent deformity like the Chinese habit of foot-binding."
    Dean Acheson (18931971), US statesman
    Source: Quoted in Among Friends (David S. McLellan and David C. Acheson, 1980)
  • "From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor."
    Jerry Della Femina (1936–), US advertising executive
    Book title, originally suggested as an advertising slogan for Panasonic Corporation.
    Source: From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor (1970)
  • "Of course advertising creates wants. Of course it makes people discontented, dissatisfied. Satisfaction with things as they are would defeat the American Dream."
    Bernice Fitz-Gibbon (1895?1982), US advertising executive
    Source: Macy's, Gimbels and Me (1967)
  • "What do you want from me? Fine writing? Or would you like to see the goddam sales curve stop going down and start going up?"
    Rosser Reeves (19101984), US advertising executive
    Source: Interview (1965)
  • "What you say in advertising is more important than how you say it."
    David Ogilvy (19111999), British advertising executive, founder and chairman of Ogilvy & Mather
    Source: Confessions of an Advertising Man (1963)
  • "Ninety percent of advertising doesn't sell much of anything."
    David Ogilvy (19111999), British advertising executive, founder and chairman of Ogilvy & Mather
    Source: Confessions of an Advertising Man (1963)
  • "Advertising is only evil when it advertises evil things."
    David Ogilvy (19111999), British advertising executive, founder and chairman of Ogilvy & Mather
    Source: Confessions of an Advertising Man (1963)
  • "Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving."
    David Ogilvy (19111999), British advertising executive, founder and chairman of Ogilvy & Mather
    Source: Confessions of an Advertising Man (1963)
  • "A desirable advertisement will be reasonable, but never dull … original, but never self-conscious … imaginative, but never misleading."
    Fairfax Cone (19031977), US advertising executive
    Source: Christian Science Monitor (1963)
  • "Until the rise of American advertising, it never occurred to anyone anywhere in the world that the teenager was a captive in a hostile world of adults."
    Gore Vidal (1925–), US novelist and critic
    Source: Rocking the Boat (1962)
  • "It is pretty obvious that the debasement of the human mind caused by a constant flow of fraudulent advertising is not a trivial thing. There is more than one way to conquer a country."
    Raymond Chandler (18881959), US writer
    Source: Quoted in Raymond Chandler Speaking (Dorothy Gardiner and Katherine S. Walker, eds, 1962)
  • "We read advertisements … to discover and enlarge our desires."
    Daniel J. Boorstin (19142004), US Pulitzer Prize-winning historian
    Source: The Image (1961)
  • "The modern corporation must manufacture not only goods but the desire for the goods it manufactures."
    J. K. Galbraith (19082006), US economist and diplomat
    Source: The Affluent Society (1958), ch. 20
  • "It is not necessary to advertise food to hungry people, fuel to cold people, or houses to the homeless."
    J. K. Galbraith (19082006), US economist and diplomat
    Source: American Capitalism (1956)
  • "Advertising is the very essence of democracy."
    Bruce Barton (18861967), US advertising executive and author
    Source: Reader's Digest (1955)
  • "An advertising agency is 85% confusion and 15% commission."
    Fred Allen (18941956), US comedian and satirist
    Source: Treadmill to Oblivion (1954)
  • "Don't sell the steak; sell the sizzle. It is the sizzle that sells the steak and not the cow, although the cow is, of course, mighty important."
    Elmer Wheeler (19031968), US writer
    Source: Principles of Salesmanship (1936?), no. 1
  • "Advertising may be described as the science of arresting human intelligence long enough to get money from it."
    Stephen Leacock (18691944), Canadian humorist, essayist, economist, and historian
    Source: The Perfect Salesman (1924)
  • "It is far easier to write ten passably effective sonnets, good enough to take in the not too enquiring critic, than one effective advertisement that will take in a few thousand of the uncritical buying public."
    Aldous Huxley (18941963), British novelist and essayist
    Source: On the Margin (1923)
  • "Make a Fair Product for a Fair Price, then Tell the World."
    William Wrigley, Jr (18611932), US businessman and founder of Wrigley Company
    Source: “Make a Fair Product for a Fair Price, then Tell the World,” Illustrated World (S. J. Duncan-Clark, March 1922)
  • "The business that considers itself immune to the necessity for advertising sooner or later finds itself immune to business."
    Derby Brown, US businessman
    Source: Attributed
  • "Advertising is the greatest art form of the twentieth century."
    Marshall McLuhan (19111980), Canadian sociologist and author
    Source: Attributed
  • "I’ve written books on advertising—cheque books."
    Sir Alan, Lord Sugar (1947–), British entrepreneur, TV personality, and founder of Amstrad electronics company
    Source: The Apprentice (UK), BBC TV

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