Advertising Quotes, Quips, Barbs, and Wisecracks

by Dean Rieck

The definition of a good quotation is "truth well-stated." And that's what you'll find in my Advertising Quote Collection.

The quotes I've pulled together represent some of the best things ever said about advertising and business. They are wise, amusing, irreverent, opinionated, even contradictory. But each sparkles with a diamond of truth.

Personally, I believe that some of the most instructive and entertaining are those that criticize, complain, or poke fun. Thus, these gems.

"Ninety-nine percent of advertising doesn't sell much of anything."
-David Ogilvy

"The real fact of the matter is that nobody reads ads. People read what interests them, and sometimes it's an ad."
-Howard Luck Gossage

"The six phases of every project: 1. Enthusiasm; 2. Disillusionment; 3. Panic; 4. A search for the guilty; 5. The punishment of the innocent; 6. Praise and honor for the nonparticipants."

"To me, an advertising agency is 85 percent confusion and 15 percent commission."
-Fred Allen

"Advertising is selling Twinkies to adults."
-Donald R. Vance

"Hollywood has its Oscars. Television has its Emmys. Broadway has its Tonys. And advertising has its Clios. And its Andys, Addys, Effies and Obies. And 117 other assorted awards. And those are just the big ones."
-Joanne Lipman

"I saw a subliminal advertising executive, but only for a second."
-Steven Wright

"People don't buy from clowns."
-Claude C. Hopkins

"Advertising: the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it."
-Stephen B. Leacock

"You can fool all the people all the time if the advertising is right and the budget is big enough."
-Joseph E. Levine

"Advertising is a valuable economic factor because it is the cheapest way of selling goods, particularly if the goods are worthless."
-Sinclair Lewis

"The Death of Advertising? I think that's in the book of Revelation. It's the day when people everywhere become satisfied with their weight, their hair, their skin, their wardrobe, and their aroma."
-Jef I. Richards

"Great designers seldom make great advertising men, because they get overcome by the beauty of the picture — and forget that merchandise must be sold."
-James Randolph Adams

"Just because your ad looks good is no insurance that it will get looked at. How many people do you know who are impeccably groomed ... but dull?"
-William Bernbach

"Asked about the power of advertising in research surveys, most agree that it works, but not on them."
-Eric Clark

"It is the unrelenting, oppressive pressure to be imaginative that is responsible for most bad advertising. It causes people to suspend judgment, to lose sight of priorities, and to forget what they're supposed to be doing."
-John Egley

"There is a great deal of advertising that is much better than the product. When that happens, all that the good advertising will do is put you out of business faster."
-Jerry Della Femina

"We grew up founding our dreams on the infinite promise of American advertising. I still believe that one can learn to play the piano by mail and that mud will give you a perfect complexion."
-Zelda Fitzgerald

"You can always rely on Madison Avenue to do the right thing to sell a product ... once they've exhausted every other possibility."
-Dean Rieck

I just had to get one of my own in there. Cheers!

Copyright © 2001 Dean Rieck. All Rights Reserved.
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