You know the names, David Ogilvy, Rosser Reeves, Leo Burnett, Helmut Krone, and dozens of others. These were the legendary ad men of past generations. These were the greats who created the iconic ads for brands such as Volkswagen, Coke, Marlboro, Allstate, Dove, and United Airlines.
While these men had their hayday in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, they have left a lasting legacy in the world of marketing, advertising, and pop culture. Some of their ads may have even inspired you to become a marketer.
Here are 5 quotes from these legendary ad men that you can use to inspire your marketing.
1. David Ogilvy
Don’t bunt. Aim out of the ballpark. Aim for the company of immortals.
First of all, I almost copped out and just said David Ogilvy. You can’t go wrong with an Ogilvy quote, and there are plenty. Before his death he wrote a number of books, each a must read for both experienced and novice marketers, and there are many interviews where you can pull useful meeting room quotes from.
This is really self explanatory, and probably one of the greatest motivational quotes of all time. It’s simple and direct. If you want to be great you have to aim out of the park. History doesn’t remember the greatest bunters in baseball, but instead the heavy hitters, the Babe Ruths of the game.
If you want to be great, you have to take a chance and swing away.
2. Leo Burnett
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 is definitely another one of the greats, creating some of the most iconic and lasting ads of the 20th century. And he is spot on in this quote.
Despite what many marketers believe, people are not gullible. You cannot fool them into buying your product. Even if you do, your upward sales trend will only be temporary. In our connected world, you need truth in advertising or risk serious backlash from angry customers.
(Bonus quote: If you are writing about baloney, don’t try and make it Cornish hen, because that’s the worst kind of baloney there is. Just make it darn good baloney.” – Leo Burnett)
Truth in advertising is more of a necessity now than ever before.
3. William “Bill” Bernbach
I warn you against believing that advertising is a science.
So Bill Bernbach and David Ogilvy might have been at odds over this quote, and you may disagree with me (my boss probably will). However, I agree with Bernbach.
Marketing and advertising aren’t truly a science, even though there is an argument that it fits that definition. While the scientific method should play a very important role in most everything you do, neither hard nor soft science can always provide an answer for why something did or didn’t perform. Ultimately, there is no exact science of design and copy.
The best way to ensure that your marketing is as effective as possible is to track and test everything. This will help you continuously improve and become more aware of trends that may affect performance.
The important thing is to always be looking for a way to improve your performance, even if there isn’t a scientific reason for doing it one way over another.
4. George Parker
The only people who care about advertising are the people in advertising.
I consider this one of the best quotes on the list because it is very similar to the first advice I was given when I started here at Randall-Reilly as a copywriter.
Nobody cares about your advertising, nobody wants to read your copy, and nobody cares about your cool design. Don’t get full of yourself and don’t try to be above your audience. That just makes you look haughty and arrogant, and your advertising won’t convert.
To be a successful marketer you have to give your audience a reason to pay attention. Providing some form of value through your marketing, whether that be lowering costs or improving equipment.
5. Claude C. Hopkins
Tests are important and help us understand our customers. Good selling is based on good testing.
Claude C. Hopkins is one of the relatively unknown pioneers in the advertising industry. But it’s probably accurate to say he is the original ad man.
One of Hopkins most powerful points was in regard to what he terms “scientific adverting.” (No, it isn’t a contradiction. The point still stands.) With the capabilities of today’s digital marketing, testing is easier than ever before. This means you have the capability ensure you are continuously working to improve the performance of your marketing.
While there may not be a science that can tell you the exact formula for creating the perfect advertisement, you can test much of your marketing to determine what works best.
To say these men have had an impact on the marketing industry would be an understatement, to say the least. By learning from the collective wisdom of these men you can guide your marketing to new heights of success.
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