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12 Surely Inspiring David Ogilvy Quotes

12 Surely Inspiring David Ogilvy Quotes

David Ogilvy

Gone for almost 14 years, David Ogilvy remains one of the most famous names in advertising and one of its dominant thinkers. Considered the “father of advertising”, Ogilvy still sparks creativity and workplace enthusiasm for advertisers, marketer and desDavid Ogilvyigners.

I’ve been fascinated with Ogilvy since diving into advertising in college (seems like forever ago). This is mostly due his approach to inspiring creativity and standing for anything BUT mediocrity. If you look at memorable ad campaigns from the past, you’ll see that he had a hand in many of them. The guy didn’t just know how to advertise, he knew how to advertise well.

Big agency, small agency, in house or freelance, online or traditional, Ogilvy’s quotes alone can help inspire the modern advertiser.

Here are 12 Ogilvy Quotes that are sure to promote creativity:

“If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative.”

“Don’t bunt. Aim out of the ball park. Aim for the company of immortals.”

“Develop your eccentricities while you are young. That way, when you get old, people won’t think you’re going gaga.”

“The more informative your advertising, the more persuasive it will be.”

“The most important word in the vocabulary of advertising is TEST. If you pretest your product with consumers, and pretest your advertising, you will do well in the marketplace.”

Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving.”

“The headline is the ‘ticket on the meat.’ Use it to flag down readers who are prospects for the kind of product you are advertising.”

“If you can’t advertise yourself, what hope do you have of advertising anything else?”

“The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible.”

“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”

“Like a midwife, I make my living bringing new babies into the world, except that mine are new advertising campaigns.”

“Advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals.”

Obviously Ogilvy hasn’t been around for the digital advertising revolution, also known as the “consumer controlled era”. However, these quotes and his overall approach to advertising are as applicable today as they were in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. What are some of your favorite Ogilvy quotes? Maybe you’re more of a Claude Hopkins, Bill Bernbach or Davis Baker fan. Let us know!


Davis Baker
Davis is the PPC Team Lead at Forthea and a digital advertising veteran of six years. Outside of the office, you can find Davis running, riding his dirt bike, or searching for the perfect cup of coffee (freshly ground and brewed with a French press. Anything less just won't cut it).

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