Insightful Quotes from Advertising Legends

Posted: October 13, 2016

Topics: Culture


Advertising, like any industry, is built on the backs of its innovators and leading minds, and no names in the industry hold more reverence than David Ogilvy, Bill Bernbach, and Leo Burnett. Their ideas have guided creative and account teams for decades and can tell you a lot about your own methods and approaches to advertising.   

“Don’t tell me how good you make it; tell me how good it makes me when I use it.” - Leo Burnett

If you’re a business owner or a marketing manager this might be the single most important quote to remember.

Advertising is created to communicate, and what Leo is getting at here is that your ads should focus on how your product will impact the buyer’s life — they’ll be happier, healthier, more productive, etc. instead of focusing on just product benefits.

This focus shift will help you command immediate attention from the audience, and have a better shot at starting a conversation with them. Forgetting this rule, or ignoring it all together, is the fastest way to a bland and ineffective ad. 

“Products, like people, have personalities and they can make or break them in the market place.” - David Ogilvy

This maxim, from advertising great David Ogilvy, stresses a lesson that is as old as the industry itself.

Giving character to a product is one of the best ways to promote and separate it from the competition, but in the heady days of Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, knowing how to create and effectively manage a brand’s personality is EVERYTHING.

Just Google brand social media fails and you’ll find numerous examples of companies promoting inappropriate or easily misconstrued digital content and suffering intense and embarrassing backlash. Coca-Cola’s ill-fated #MakeItHappy Twitter campaign is a particular stand-out.  

“All of us who professionally use the mass media are the shapers of society.
We can vulgarize that society.
We can brutalize it.
Or we can help lift it onto a higher level" - Bill Bernbach

If I’m ever invited to speak to a class of aspiring advertisers, I’ll inevitably start with this quote above.

No one else has quite succinctly and eloquently stated what lies at the very heart of what advertisers or advertising in general can (and should) do, more than Bill Bernbach. But it’s worth noting that he isn’t saying you should go out and make every one of your ads talk about a charity or cause unrelated to your product to simply look like a morally responsible company.

What I believe Bill is getting at is to remind us, as advertisers, to remember to challenge consumers to not just buy a product but to make it a part of their lifestyle. Look at the two great campaigns from Apple and Nike - “Just do it” and “Think different.” These campaigns encouraged consumers to make the connection between the brands and who they are and how they live their lives. A higher calling indeed!

 That’s all for today, but you know, one of the quickest ways to put these lessons into practice is by working with a professional agency that can help your marketing meet and exceed expectations.

The expert team at PUSH 22 is just that — experts. We know the rules, and better yet, how to help your advertising reach and keep your audience. Take a look at some of our past work here, or contact us today to get your project started.

This post was written by C. Magin, PUSH 22 Copywriter.