David Ogilvy Quotes

Who is David Ogilvy?

David Mackenzie Ogilvy was a British businesman known as the Father of Advertising.

Born June 23, 1911
Died July 21, 1999

Books by David Ogilvy


Best 41 Quotes by David Ogilvy | Page 1 of 2

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

“Don't bunt. Aim out of the ballpark. Aim for the company of immortals.”

“Great marketing only makes a bad product fail faster.”

“Hard work never killed a man. Men die of boredom, psychological conflict, and disease. They do not die of hard work.”

“I don't know the rules of grammar. If you're trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language.”

“In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you create.”

“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.”

“Sound an alarm! Advertising, not deals, builds brands.”

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

“When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it ‘creative.’ I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product.”

Confessions of an Advertising Man Quotes

“As a private person, I have a passion for landscape, and I have never seen one improved by a billboard. Where every prospect pleases, man is at his vilest when he erects a billboard. When I retire from Madison Avenue, I am going to start a secret society of masked vigilantes who will travel around the world on silent motor bicycles, chopping down posters at the dark of the moon. How many juries will convict us when we are caught in these acts of beneficent citizenship?”

Confessions of an Advertising Man

“The consumer isn't a moron. She is your wife.”

Confessions of an Advertising Man

“The creative process requires more than reason. Most original thinking isn't even verbal. It requires 'a groping experimentation with ideas, governed by intuitive hunches and inspired by the unconscious.' The majority of business men are incapable of original thinking because they are unable to escape from the tyranny of reason. Their imaginations are blocked.”

Confessions of an Advertising Man

“What you say in advertising is more important than how you say it.

Confessions of an Advertising Man

Products by David Ogilvy

“Where people aren’t having any fun, they seldom produce good work.”

Confessions of an Advertising Man

Ogilvy on Advertising Quotes

“Advertisements with long copy convey the impression that you have something important to say, whether people read the copy or not.”

Ogilvy on Advertising

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“Write for the buyer, not the nonbuyer. Real prospects are hungry for information.”

The Ultimate Sales Letter


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

Ogilvy on Advertising

“Any fool can write a bad advertisement, but it takes a genius to keep his hands off a good one.”

Ogilvy on Advertising

“Big ideas come from the unconscious. This is true in art, in science and in advertising. But your unconscious has to be well informed, or your idea will be irrelevant. Stuff your conscious mind with information, then unhook your rational thought process.”

Ogilvy on Advertising

“Concentrate your time, your brains, and your advertising money on your successes. Back your winners, and abandon your losers.”

Ogilvy on Advertising

“Consumers still buy products whose advertising promises them value for money, beauty, nutrition, relief from suffering, social status and so on.”

Ogilvy on Advertising

“However able they may be, ambitious people won’t stay in outfits which practice nepotism. This is one mistake I did not make; my son is in the real estate business, secure in the knowledge that he owes nothing of his success to his father.”

Ogilvy on Advertising

“I do not regard advertising as entertainment or an art form, but as a medium of information. When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it ‘creative.’ I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product.”

Ogilvy on Advertising

“I saw the head chef at the Hotel Majestic fire a pastry cook because the poor devil could not get his brioches to rise straight. This ruthlessness made all the other chefs feel that they were working in the best kitchen in the world.”

Ogilvy on Advertising

“I used to start my questionnaires by asking, ‘Which would you rather hear on the radio tonight – Jack Benny or a Shakespeare play?’ If the respondent said Shakespeare, I knew he was a liar and broke off the interview.”

Ogilvy on Advertising

“If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.”

Ogilvy on Advertising

“In my experience, committees can criticize, but they cannot create. Search the parks in all your cities You’ll find no statues of committees.”

Ogilvy on Advertising

“It is a good idea to start the year by writing down exactly what you want to accomplish, and end the year by measuring how much you have accomplished.”

Ogilvy on Advertising

Products by David Ogilvy

“It is usually assumed that marketers use scientific methods to determine the price of their products. Nothing could be further from the truth. In almost every case, the process of decision is one of guesswork.”

Ogilvy on Advertising

“It isn’t the whiskey they choose, it’s the image.”

Ogilvy on Advertising

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“Copywriting is a language communicated purely through subtext. Therefore, when you are reading copy you are not looking for clever turns of phrase or 'mind control lines'. The words aren’t important. It’s not what you say, it’s what you communicate.”

Take Their Money


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