Ad Quotes

On great work:

“Great relationships don’t come from great work.
Great work come from great relationships.”

Robert Solomon,
Solomon Strategic and Author of The Art of Client Service

On message delivery:

The truth isn’t the truth until people believe you, and they can’t believe you if they don’t know what you’re saying, and they can’t know what you’re saying if they don’t listen to you, and they won’t listen to you if you’re not interesting, and you won’t be interesting unless you say things imaginatively, originally, freshly.”

Bill Bernbach
One of the founders of Doyle Dane Bernbach, DDB

On the original error:

“Originality isn’t always the answer. The best answer may not be ‘creative’ in the usual sense. It’s often simply a matter of being direct, straight, lucid. Every creative person should remember there’s no virtue in being original if that means you’re not relevant.”

Hal Newsom,
President and Creative Director of Cole & Weber

On understanding your role.

leo“I have learned that any fool can write a bad ad, but it takes a real genius to keep his hands off a good one.”

Leo Burnett


On invisible advertising:

“Much advertising seems based on the theory you can beat the clutter if you only yell loud enough.  There’s no idea, just more noise.  The result is advertising that’s invisible.  To beat clutter, you need advertising that isn’t part of the din, advertising that works harder on the third exposure than the first.  You don’t get it with the boring formulas on which so much advertising is based.”

Bill Backer,
Co-founder and president of 
Backer & Spielvogel

On advertising and sales:

“Advertising is a substitute for a salesperson so it should be likeable.  You wouldn’t buy from a salesperson who’s rude, arrogant, insulting, would you?  Americans like to shop and they like to buy from people they like.  That’s why we want our advertising to be the best liked in its category.  Over the long term, consumers like to do business with people the like, and they respond to advertising created by people who like people.”

Bill Backer,
Co-founder and president of
Backer & Spielvogel

On Clients:

“Clients seem to get the advertising they deserve. The good ones, they’re the risk takers. They’re willing to risk failure for extraordinary success. That attitude flows down from the top, and you feel a tremendous sense of freedom, a sense of support for your boldest efforts. The bad clients? Fear dribbles down from the top. No one says so, in so many words, but you know no risks will be tolerated, no rules broken, that mediocrity is the measure by which your work will be weighed. I’ve been so lucky. I’ve worked with so many good clients—and so few bad ones.”

Lois Korey,
Exec. VP, Creative Director, Needham Harper & Steers

On helping clients avoid bad work:

“I have heard creative people explain bad work by saying “ I didn’t want the client to buy that ad, but he did.”  That is nonsense.  It is unconscionable to present anything unless you want it produced and run.  I’ve told our people if you want to do good work, do it – and do nothing else.  Don’t present anything you’re not prepared to produce, run and publicly call your own.  Bad advertising wouldn’t exist if someone didn’t create it – and then have the hypocrisy to present it as something worth buying.”

Norman Berry,  
Executive VP and Creative Director of Ogilvy & Mather, UK

On New Business Presentations

“The outcome of a rain dance has more to do with the timing than the dance.”

Richard Day,
Account Service Director, Healey Schutte & Comstock

On where ideas come from:

  • “I have learned to respect ideas, wherever they come from.  Often they come from clients.  Account executives often have big ideas, regardless of what some writers think.”

Author unknown.
Probably from a guy who knew a guy who might have known the author.