MOST GOOD COPYWRITERS are very strange people who have only reached copywriting after eliminating every other means of making a living through writing. Once a man becomes resigned to making a good living by writing a few words at a time and writing them over and over again in various combinations, he is likely to think of himself as a professional copywriter.
– Howard Gossage
It is far easier to write 10 passably effective sonnets than one effective advertisement.
– Aldous Huxley
Advertising may be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it.
– Stephen Leacock*
Advertising is a valuable economic factor because it is the cheapest way of selling goods, particularly if the goods are worthless.
– Sinclair Lewis*
Few people at the beginning of the twentieth century needed an adman to tell them what they wanted.
– John Kenneth Galbraith*
When you start a country club, get a few admen for members. You need somebody who gets all the jokes.
Let advertisers spend the same amount of money improving their product that they do on advertising and they wouldn’t need to advertise it.
– Will Rogers*
Nothing’s so apt to undermine your confidence in a product as knowing that the commercial selling it has been approved by the company that makes it.
– Franklin P. Jones*
It used to be that people needed products to survive. Now products need people to survive.
– Nicholas Johnson*
Advertising is the art of making whole lies out of half truths.
– Edgar A. Shoaff*
Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.
– Mark Twain*
Advertising is the greatest art form of the twentieth century.
– Marshall McLuhan*
In good times, people want to advertise; in bad times, they have to.
– Bruce Barton*
Advertising agency: eighty-five percent confusion and fifteen percent commission.
– Fred Allen*
The longest word in the English language is the one following “And now, a word from our sponsor.”
– Hal Eaton*
Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does.
– Stuart Henderson Britt*
You can tell the ideals of a nation by its advertisements.
– Norman Douglas*
Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper.
– Thomas Jefferson*
Advertising, of course, has been part of the mainstream of American civilization, although you might not know it if you read the most respectable surveys of American history. It has been one of the enticements to the settlement of this New World, it has been a producer of the peopling of the United States, and in its modern form, in its worldwide reach, it has been one of our most characteristic products.
– Daniel Boorstin
Advertisements are now so numerous that they are very negligently perused, and it is therefore become necessary to gain attention by magnificence of promises, and by eloquences sometimes sublime and sometimes pathetic. Promise -– large promise –- is the soul of advertising.
– Samuel Johnson*
Advertise, or the sheriff may do it for you.
– P.T. Barnum (attributed)*
Advertising promotes that divine discontent which makes people strive to improve their economic status.
– Ralph Butler*
A good thing sells itself; a bad thing advertises itself for sale.
– East African saying*
Radio gave birth to impertinent advertising. Never before the advent of radio did advertising have such a golden opportunity to make an ass out of itself.
– William J. Cameron
Who is the consumer? Show me a consumer.
– General Hugh Johnson
Every time I get mixed up with my advertising problems I feel the ground sink away from me, and I am floated away into the imponderable ether, where I can’t clutch at even a straw for support.
– Anonymous client, 1908
Advertising is a lying art. It depends on suggestions that aren’t wholly true. And you can’t expect art to deal in half truths. Business can’t expect art to tell lies for it.
– Thomas Hart Benton
See the man.
He does advertising work.
He is called an “ad-man.”
See his funny tight suit.
See his funny haircut.
Hear his funny stomach churn.
Churn, churn, churn.
The ad-man has a funny ulcer.
Most ad-men have funny ulcers.
But then, some ad-men are lucky.
They do not have funny ulcers.
They have funny high blood pressure.
– Mad magazine, 1957
To create good selling copy, advertisement writers must be bubbling over with enthusiasm. A day’s work with the glow of magic fire is worth a week of galley slave plugging. Real copy “artists” are self-hypnotists.
– Judicious Advertising magazine, 1912
One of the real reasons for being in the advertising business is that you have to be alive if you are any good at it.
– Hugh Baillie
To be a really good copywriter requires a passion for converting the other fellow, even if it is something you don’t believe yourself.
– Helen Woodward
Soup can produce emotion. You can write as emotionally about ham as about Christianity.
– Edith Lewis
Some people, perhaps most people, think words are not really important, but I am a word man and I attach the very highest importance to words.
– E.B. White
The words don’t matter, friend. It’s feeling that counts. The great thing is feeling. You got to put passion into it. You got to make that hog believe you got something that hog wants.
– Kansas hog-calling champion, 1929
*Taken from And I Quote: The Definitive Collection of Quotes, Sayings, and Jokes for the Contemporary Speechmaker, by Ashton Applewhite, et al. (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1992). | DC |