On getting the reader’s attention
The truth isn’t the truth until people believe you, and they can’t believe you if they don’t know what you’re saying, and they can’t know what you’re saying if they don’t listen to you, and they won’t listen to you if you’re not interesting, and you won’t be interesting unless you say things imaginatively, originally, freshly. —William Bernbach (1989)
It is insight into human nature that is the key to the communicator’s skill. For whereas the writer is concerned with what he puts into his writings, the communicator is concerned with what the reader gets out of it. He therefore becomes a student of how people read or listen. —William Bernbach (1989)
Advertising may be described as the science of arresting human intelligence long enough to get money from it. —Stephen Leacock (1869-1944), “The Perfect Salesman,” Garden of Folly, 1924
Successful advertisers… [shoot] that much harder for advertisements that, as Arthur Brisbane defined good writing, are “easier to read than to skip.” —Schwab, How to Write a Good Advertisement
When executing advertising, it’s best to think of yourself as an uninvited guest in the living room of a prospect who has the magical power to make you disappear instantly. —John O’Toole
On the competition
When somebody asked Willie Hoppe’s manager how it was that Willie always won his billiard matches, the answer was: “Willie is always playing billiards; his competitors are always playing Willie.” —Schwab, How to Write a Good Advertisement
- I’m a copywriter as well as an art historian and historian. Some years back, for inspiration, I collected my favorite quotes about advertising; they ended up in the appendix of the Versaquill Copywriting Workbook. The quotes above are the fourth installment: I’ll be publishing more here occasionally: click on “Advertising” in the tab cloud at lower right to find them all.
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