Great marketing and advertising quotations

Like good taste, marketing is difficult to define

Let’s try to define it by quoting or paraphrasing some of the masters of the art and science of marketing–which they generally used call advertising:

“Advertising is what you do when you can’t (afford to) go see somebody.”

Fairfax Cone, principal of Foote, Cone & Belding – 1963

“Advertising is salesmanship mass produced. No one would bother to use Advertising if he could talk to all his prospects face-to-face. But he can’t.”

Morris Hite, author of Adman: Morris Hite’s Methods for Winning the Ad Game- 1988

“Advertising is, actually, a simple phenomenon in terms of economics. It is merely a substitute for a personal sales force – an extension, if you will, of the merchant who cries aloud his wares.”

Rosser Reeves, Reality in Advertising – 1986

“Advertising is the foot on the accelerator, the hand on the throttle, the spur on the flank that keeps our economy surging forward.”

Robert W. Sarnoff, quoted in John P. Bradley, Leo F. Daniels & Thomas C. Jones, The International Dictionary of Thoughts – 1969

“Advertising says to people, ‘Here’s what we’ve got. Here’s what it will do for you. Here’s how to get it.'”

– Leo Burnett, quoted in 100 LEO’s – 1995

“I do not regard advertising as entertainment or an art form, but as a medium of information.”

David Ogilvy, Ogilvy on Advertising – 1985

“If you can’t turn yourself into your customer, you probably shouldn’t be in the marketing writing business at all.”

Leo Burnett, quoted in 100 LEO’s – 1995

“The consumer isn’t a moron. She is your wife.”

David Ogilvy, Confessions of an Advertising Man – 1971

“There is no such thing as ‘soft sell’ and ‘hard sell.’ There is only ‘smart sell’ and ‘stupid sell.'”

Charles Browder (1958), president of BBDO, quoted in James B. Simpson, Contemporary Quotations – 1964

“The more facts you tell, the more you sell. An advertisement’s chance for success invariably increases as the number of pertinent merchandise facts included in the advertisement increases.”

Dr. Charles Edwards, quoted in Leonard Safir and William Safire, Good Advice – 1982

“The headline is the most important element of an ad. It must offer a promise to the reader of a believable benefit. And it must be phrased in a way to give it memory value.”

– Morris Hite, quoted in Adman: Morris Hite’s Methods for Winning the Ad Game – 1988

“To establish a favorable and well-defined brand personality with the consumer the (marketer) must be consistent. You can’t use a comic approach today and a scientist in a white jacket tomorrow without diffusing and damaging your brand personality.”

Morris Hite, quoted in Adman: Morris Hite’s Methods for Winning the Ad Game – 1988

“Promise, large promise, is the soul of Advertising”

Samuel Johnson, English author – 1759

“Advertising in the final analysis should be news. If it is not news it is worthless.”

Adolph S. Ochs – 1958

“What you say in Advertising is more important than how you say it.” David Ogilvy

“The headline is the ‘ticket on the meat.’ Use it to flag down readers who are prospects for the kind of product you are Advertising.”

David Ogilvy, Confessions of an Advertising Man – 1971

“I once used the word OBSOLETE in a headline, only to discover that 43 percent of housewives had no idea what it meant. In another headline, I used the word INEFFABLE, only to discover that I didn’t know what it meant myself.”

David Ogilvy, Confessions of an Advertising Man – 1971

“I think central to good writing of advertising, or anything else, is a person who has developed an understanding of people, an insight into them, a sympathy toward them. I think that that develops more sharply when the writer has not had an easy adjustment to living. So that they have themselves felt the need for understanding, the need for sympathy, and can therefore see that need in other people.”

George Gribbin, quoted in Denis Higgins, The Art of Writing Advertising: Conversations with Masters of the Craft – 1990

“I don’t know the rules of grammar. . . If you’re trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think. We try to write in the vernacular.”

David Ogilvy

“You must make the product interesting, not just make the ad different. And that’s what too many of the copywriters in the U.S. today don’t yet understand.”

– Rosser Reeves

“The mystery of writing advertisements consists mainly in saying in a few plain words exactly what it is desired to say, precisely as it would be written in a letter or told to an acquaintance.”

George P. Rowell, quoted in Advertiser’s Gazette – 1870

“There is no way for the American economic system to function without Advertising. There is no other way to communicate enough information about enough products to enough people with enough speed.”

John O’Toole, The Trouble with Advertising -1981

“We find that advertising works the way the grass grows. You can never see it, but every week you have to mow the lawn.”

Andy Tarshis, A.C. Nielsen Company, quoted in Martin Mayer, Whatever Happened to Madison Avenue? Advertising in the ’90s -1991

“Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.”

Mark Twain, quoted in Edward F. Murphy, The Crown Treasury of Relevant Quotations -1978

“Advertising is Cyrano. He comes under your window and sings; people get used to it and ignore it. But if Roxane responds, there’s a relationship. We move the brand relationship up a notch. Advertising becomes a dialogue that becomes an invitation to a relationship.”

– Lester Wunderman, Young & Rubicam, quoted in Martin Mayer, Whatever Happened to Madison Avenue? Advertising in the ’90s – 1991

“Advertising is the king’s messenger in this day of economic democracy. All unknowing a new force has been let loose in the world. Those who understand it will have one of the keys to the future.”

Editorial, “Messenger to the King,” Collier’s – – 1930

“Advertising moves people toward goods; merchandising moves goods toward people.”

Morris Hite, quoted in Adman: Morris Hite’s Methods for Winning the Ad Game – 1988

“Advertising says, ‘Buy me and you will overcome the anxieties I have just reminded you of.'”

Michael Schudson, quoted in Robert I. Fitzhenry, The Fitzhenry & Whiteside Book of Quotations – 1993

“Anyone who thinks that people can be fooled or pushed around has an inaccurate and pretty low estimate of people – and he won’t do very well in advertising.”

Leo Burnett, quoted in 100 LEO’s

“You see, advertising is a substitute for a salesperson, so it should be likeable. Who would buy from a salesperson who is rude, arrogant or insulting? People like to do business with people they like, therefore they respond to advertising created by people who like people.”

Jerry Goodis, Canadian ad executive, quoted in John Robert Colombo, The Dictionary of Canadian Quotations – 1991

“In American business today, with so many good companies offering bewilderingly similar products, Advertising has become perhaps the critical factor in the consumer’s decision of which one of those products to buy.

Skip Hollandsworth

“There’s no secret formula for advertising success, other than to learn everything you can about the product. Most products have some unique characteristic, and the really great Advertising comes right out of the product and says something about the product that no one else can say. Or at least no one else is saying.”

Morris Hite, quoted in Adman: Morris Hite’s Methods for Winning the Ad Game – 1988

“There is no such thing as a Mass Mind. 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, of Foote Cone & Belding, quoted in John O’Toole, The Trouble with Advertising – 1981

“Effective marketing is really quite simple: Identify your destination (goals). Determine how best to get there (strategy). Get started (tactics). Measure your progress (reporting and analysis). Make course corrections as needed (continuous improvement).”

Mac McIntosh – 2004

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