The Quote Garden ™
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Quotations about Advertising
NOTE: Some of the quotes on this page were submitted to me by visitors, and not all have been verified for original source or wording. I'm working hard to confirm everything, but in the meantime please be aware of the possibility for errors. —ღ Terri, March 2021
With no ads, who would pay for the media? The good fairy? ~Samuel Thurm
Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does. ~Author Unknown [This is frequently attributed to Steuart Henderson Britt. However, I find it quoted word-for-word in The Insurance Field (Life Edition), 1917 April 6th, attributed to "Somebody Unknown But Who Said a Chunk." Britt was born in June 1907, which would make him 9 years old at the time and unless he was a prodigy or there's a senior Britt I'm unware of, this attribution does not seem likely. Anyone with further info, feel free to contact me. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
The man who whispers down a well,
About the goods he has to sell,
Won't reap as many golden dollars
As he who climbs a tree and hollers.
~Josh Billings, revised by H. Montague
What is the difference between unethical and ethical advertising? Unethical advertising uses falsehoods to deceive the public; ethical advertising uses truth to deceive the public. ~Vilhjalmur Stefansson, 1964
Advertisers constantly invent cures to which there is no disease. ~Author Unknown
Our leading advertisers have richly proved that the public will believe anything if they are told of it often enough. ~Arnold Bennett (1867–1931)
And there is no question but that you can't sustain a mood, a dramatic mood of any particular kind, when at the end of the climactic moment of the scene, out come a couple of dancing rabbits with toilet paper. ~Rod Serling, quoted in Teaching Literature to Adolescents: Plays by Alan B. Howes, 1968; various wordings exist, including "How can you put on a meaningful drama or documentary that is adult, incisive, probing, when every fifteen minutes the proceedings are interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper?" ~Rod Serling, speech at Ithaca College (New York), quoted in Reader's Digest, vol.121, 1982
When a man throws an empty cigarette package from an automobile, he is liable to a fine of $50. When a man throws a billboard across a view, he is richly rewarded. ~Pat Brown, quoted in David Ogilvy, Ogilvy on Advertising, 1985
I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree.
Indeed, unless the billboards fall
I'll never see a tree at all.
~Ogden Nash (1902–1971), "Song of the Open Road"
Altogether too many retailers look upon advertising as some sort of magic, which when properly handled, will bring the customer out... And they regard the advertising man as a sort of modernized and de luxe edition of the Pied Piper, who has only to play the right tune to fill the store with customers and the cash drawer with money. Now if these conceptions were the proper ones, business success would be the simplest thing in the world. ~Walter E. Weld, 1918
Whatever you promise the public in your advertising, or whatever you lead the public to expect, even though not explicitly stated, is what the public gets sore about if it isn't delivered, and the explosion of a grouch is heard much farther than the gentle hum of satisfaction. It's better by far to deliver more than you promise than to promise more than you can deliver. ~Walter E. Weld, 1918
Let the public discover that 5 per cent of your advertising is exaggeration, and it immediately suspects the other 95 per cent. ~Walter E. Weld, 1918
Many merchants who try to write their own advertising make a fizzle of it because they are too close to their own business to see it in the proper perspective. They look at it from their own standpoint rather than from the standpoint of the public. ~Walter E. Weld, 1918
...advertising is but one form of salesmanship. As a customer's mind must pass through the four stages of Attention, Interest, Desire, and Resolve to buy before any sale, however great or small, can be made, so must advertising, to be effective, attract attention, stimulate interest, and create a desire in the mind of the reader sufficient to bring him to your store. Whereupon it is up to the salesman to bring about the resolve to buy, and thus complete a sale which has already passed through the preliminary mental stages. ~Walter E. Weld, 1918
Better by far spend two whole days on a quarter page ad, and have it right, than fill a whole page full of bombastic piffle and senseless inanities... ~Walter E. Weld, 1918
And that is the whole secret of successful advertising. A good store, selling good goods at right prices, is the foundation... No advertising should be better than the store behind it. ~Walter E. Weld, 1918
Advertising may be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it. ~Stephen Butler Leacock, quoted in Michael Jackman, Crown's Book of Political Quotations, 1982
Never write an advertisement which you wouldn't want your family to read. You wouldn't tell lies to your own wife. Don't tell them to mine. ~David Ogilvy
Advertising is an environmental striptease for a world of abundance. ~Marshall McLuhan, introduction to Wilson Bryan Key, Subliminal Seduction: Ad Media's Manipulation of a Not So Innocent America, 1974
As advertising blather becomes the nation's normal idiom, language becomes printed noise. ~George Will, quoted in Stephen Donadio, The New York Public Library: Book of Twentieth-Century American Quotations
It used to be that people needed products to survive. Now products need people to survive. ~Nicholas Johnson
Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket. ~George Orwell
You can tell the ideals of a nation by its advertisements. ~Norman Douglas, South Wind
Advertising is a bit like playing make-believe. ~Terri Guillemets
Living in an age of advertisement, we are perpetually disillusioned. ~J.B. Priestley
..."Madison Avenue," that mythical advertising copy writer who is supposed to persuade us to wallow in cosmetics and tail-fin cars. ~Archibald MacLeish, in LIFE, "Eloquent Guides to America's National Purpose," 1960
So long as there's a jingle in your head, television isn't free. ~Jason Love
Advertising is the art of making whole lies out of half truths. ~Edgar A. Shoaff
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 eloquence sometimes sublime and sometimes pathetick. ~Samuel Johnson
The joy of music should never be interrupted by a commercial. ~Leonard Bernstein
For salable wine there is no need of hung-up ivy. ~Erasmus [Shakespeare, As You Like It: "If it be true that good wine needs no bush, 'tis true that a good play needs no epilogue." German proverb: "Good wine sells itself." –tg]
Advertising is only another form of statistics. ~Terri Guillemets
Advertisers in general bear a large part of the responsibility for the deep feelings of inadequacy that drive women to psychiatrists, pills, or the bottle. ~Marya Mannes, But Will It Sell?, 1964
Someone invented the automobile,
And good Americans took the wheel
To view American rivers and rills
And justly famous forests and hills —
But somebody equally enterprising
Had invented billboard advertising...
~Ogden Nash (1902–1971), "Look What You Did, Christopher!"
It is our job to make women unhappy with what they have. ~B. Earl Puckett, quoted in Stephen Donadio, The New York Public Library: Book of Twentieth-Century American Quotations, 1992
I have... had a disturbing dream in which I break through a cave wall near Nag Hammadi and discover urns full of ancient Coptic scrolls. As I unfurl the first scroll, a subscription card to some Gnostic exercise magazine flutters out. ~Colin McEnroe
MAGAZINES A game of chance, the object being to locate a needle of reading-matter in a haystack of advertisements. ~Charles Wayland Towne, The Altogether New Foolish Dictionary, by Gideon Wurdz, 1914
In general, my children refused to eat anything that hadn't danced on TV. ~Erma Bombeck
Our society's values are being corrupted by advertising's insistence on the equation: Youth equals popularity, popularity equals success, success equals happiness. ~John Fisher, The Plot to Make You Buy, 1968
Promise, large promise, is the soul of an advertisement. ~Samuel Johnson
History will see advertising "as one of the real evil things of our time. It is stimulating people constantly to want things, want this, want that." ~Malcolm Muggeridge, quoted in Eric Clark, The Want Makers: Inside the World of Advertising, 1988
When the historian of the Twentieth Century shall have finished his narrative, and comes searching for the subtitle which shall best express the spirit of the period, we think it not at all unlikely that he may select "The Age of Advertising" for the purpose. ~Printers' Ink, 27 May 1915
Don't tell my mother I work in an advertising agency — she thinks I play piano in a whorehouse. ~Jacques Seguela
First we thought the PC was a calculator. Then we found out how to turn numbers into letters with ASCII — and we thought it was a typewriter. Then we discovered graphics, and we thought it was a television. With the World Wide Web, we've realized it's a brochure. ~Douglas Adams
Beneath this slab
John Brown is stowed.
He watched the ads,
And not the road.
~Ogden Nash (1902–1971), "Lather As You Go"
The trouble with us in America isn't that the poetry of life has turned to prose, but that it has turned to advertising copy. ~Louis Kronenberger
If you don't find it in the index, look very carefully through the entire catalogue. ~Sears, Roebuck, and Co. Consumer's Guide, 1897
Last saved 2021 Jul 29 Thu 20:09 PDT