"Rules are what the artist breaks; the memorable never
emerged from a formula."
"You can say the right thing about
a product and nobody will listen. You've got to say it in such a way
that people will feel it in their gut. Because if they don't feel
it, nothing will happen."
"Properly practiced creativity
must result in greater sales more economically achieved. Properly
practiced creativity can lift your claims out of the swamp of
sameness and make them accepted, believed, persuasive, urgent."
"If your advertising goes unnoticed, everything else is
"Is creativity some obscure, esoteric art form?
Not on your life. It's the most practical thing a businessman can
"There is no such thing as a good or bad ad in
isolation. What is good at one moment is bad at another. Research
can trap you into the past."
"You can turn a page and,
before you really comprehend it, there's a feeling. There's a
vibration. If it's the wrong vibration for what you want to convey,
what follows is going to fight it-an uphill battle against the
original impression you made."
"The magic is in the
"It's not just what you say that stirs people.
It's the way that you say it."
"Merely to let your
imagination run riot, to dream unrelated dreams, to indulge in
graphic acrobatics and verbal gymnastics is NOT being creative. The
creative person has harnessed his imagination. He has disciplined it
so that every thought, every idea, every word he puts down, every
line he draws, every light and shadow in every photograph he takes,
makes more vivid, more believable, more persuasive the original
theme or product advantage he has decided he must convey."
"Surely it is better to state our proposition with the kind
of talent that will touch and move the reader and viewer than to
bore them to death with the ordinary."
"Nobody counts the
number of ads you run; they just remember the impression you make."
"You can get attention and really make people resent you if
you do it with an unrelated gimmick. They won't like you for that."
"You can have everybody coming in on time, everybody leaving
on time, all work finished on the due date, and still have a lousy
ad, and fail."
"I can put down on a page a picture of a man
crying, and it's just a picture of a man crying. Or I can put him
down in such a way as to make you want to cry. The difference is
artistry-the intangible thing that business distrusts."
is one thing to have a selling proposition and quite another to sell
"Properly practiced creativity can make one ad do the
work of ten."
"It's that creative spark that I'm so jealous
of for our agency and that I'm so desperately fearful of losing. I
don't want academicians. I don't want scientists. I don't want
people who do the right things. I want people who do inspiring
"Technique for its own sake can be disastrous.
Because, after a while, you're so anxious to do things differently,
and do them better and funnier and more brilliantly than the next
guy, that becomes the goal of the ad, instead of the selling of the
"Imitation can be commercial suicide."
"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?"
"We are so busy measuring public
opinion that we forget we can mold it. We are so busy listening to
statistics we forget we can create them."
advertising style is tomorrow's corn."
"Be provocative. But
be sure your 'provocativeness' stems from your product. You are NOT
right if in your ad you stand a man on his bead JUST to get
attention. You ARE right if you have him on his head to show how
your product keeps things from falling out of his pockets."
"We don't do just snob ads, we don't do just short copy ads,
or just long copy ads, or any particular style. If you want to know
what makes it is a fresh and original DDB ads, idea that conveys the
advantage of the product memorably. We have no formula."
warn you against believing that advertising is a science."
"I wouldn't hesitate for a second to choose the plain
looking ad that is alive and vital and meaningful, cover the ad that
is beautiful but dumb."
"Our job is to sell our clients'
merchandise...not ourselves. Our job is to kill the cleverness that
makes us shine instead of the product. Our job is to simplify, to
tear away the unrelated, to pluck out the weeds that are smothering
the product message. "
"Know your product inside out before
you start working. And relate that knowledge to the consumers'
"No matter how skillful you are, you can't invent a
product advantage that doesn't exist. And if you do, and it's just a
gimmick, it's going to fall apart anyway."
"There will be a
time when no headline is proper; there will be a time when a
headline is proper. There will be a time when a logo is good and
there will be a time when using a logo is the worst thing in the
world you can do."
"Our job is to bring the dead facts to
"A great ad campaign will make a bad product fail
faster. It will get more people to know it's bad."
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,
"Forget words like 'hard sell' and 'soft sell.'
That will only confuse you. Just be sure your advertising is saying
something with substance, something that will inform and serve the
consumer, and be sure you're saying it like it's never been said
"Adapt your techniques to an idea, not an idea to
"Playing it safe can be the most dangerous
thing in the world, because you're presenting people with an idea
they've seen before, and you won't have impact."
"Advertising doesn't create a product advantage. It can only
"The difference between the forgettable and the
enduring is artistry."
"You've got to live with your
product. You've got to get steeped in it. You've got to get
saturated with it. You must get to the heart of it. Indeed, if you
have not crystallized into a single purpose, a single theme, what
you want to tell the reader, you CANNOT be creative."
are two attitudes you can wear: that of cold arithmetic or that of
warm, human persuasion. I will urge the latter on you. For there is
evidence that in the field of communications the more intellectual
you grow, the more you lose the great intuitive skills that make for
the greatest persuasion-the things that touch and move people."
"Execution becomes content in a work of genius."
"Can you really judge an idea from a storyboard? How do you
storyboard a smile?"
"A dull truth will not be looked at. An
exciting lie will. That is what good, sincere people must
understand. They must make their truth exciting and new, or their
good works will be born dead."
"Don't confuse good taste
with the absence of taste."
"At the heart of an effective
creative philosophy is the belief that nothing is so powerful as an
insight into human nature, what compulsions drive a man, what
instincts dominate his action, even though his language so often
camouflages what really motivates him."
"It is insight into
human nature that is the key to the communicators 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."
"There are few things more destructive than an unsound idea
"To succeed an ad (or a person or
product for that matter) must establish its own unique personality,
or it will never be noticed."
"To keep your ads fresh you've
got to keep yourself fresh. Live in the current idiom and you will
create in it. If you follow and enjoy and are excited by the new
trails in art, in writing in industry, in personal relationships
...whatever you do will naturally be of today."
millions of years for man's instincts to develop. It will take
millions more for them to even vary. It is fashionable to talk about
changing man. A communicator must be concerned with unchanging man,
with his obsessive drive to survive, to be admired, to succeed, to
love, to take care of his own."
"Word of mouth is the best
medium of all."
"Find new symbols, even though in time those
symbols will grow old and die. The most freshly sculptured phrase
will eventually become a cliché."
"There is practically
nothing that is not capable of boring us."
communications, familiarity breeds apathy."
industry being watched so carefully by governmental agencies, with
the FTC ready to pounce on every claim we make, what we CAN say in
our ads is forever narrowing and the sharpest tool left for us is
HOW we say it."
"Finding out what to say is the beginning of
the communication process. How you say it makes people look and
listen and believe. And if you are not successful at that you have
wasted all the work and intelligence and skill that went into
discovering what you should say."
"Dullness won't sell your
product, but neither will irrelevant brilliance."
can turn to dust or magic depending on the talent that rubs against
"You've got to believe in your product...you've got to
believe in your work. Only a deep belief will generate the vitality
and energy that give life to your work."
"You cannot sell a
man who isn't listening."
"Getting a product known isn't the
answer. Getting it WANTED is the answer. Some of the best known
product names have failed."
"Maybe we're getting bogged down
in too much detail. Maybe our advertising ideas are being ground up
in that multi-level American efficiency machine."
how short you make it; it's how you make it short."
great mistakes are made when we feel we are beyond questioning."
"Today, everybody is talking 'Creativity' and frankly,
that's got me worried. I fear lest we keep the good taste and lose
the sell. I fear all the sins we may commit in the name of
'Creativity.' I fear that we may be entering an age of phonies."
"Logic and over analysis can immobilize and sterilize an
idea. It's like love-the more you analyze it the faster it
"A unique selling proposition is no longer
enough. Without a unique selling talent it may die."
"Because an appeal makes logical sense is no guarantee that
it will work."
"Working from a method or a formula is
guaranteed to do the same thing to the effectiveness of an idea that
time does to a loaf of bread. Ideas must be hot out of the oven if
they are to arouse the appetite. That is why, in communications,
imitation is commercial suicide."
"The fragile structure of
logic fades and disappears against the emotional onslaught of a
hushed tone, a dramatic pause, and the soaring excitement of a
"Knowledge is ultimately available to
everyone. Only true intuition, jumping from knowledge to an idea, is
yours and yours alone."
"An important idea not communicated
persuasively is like having no idea at all."
"It is ironic
that the very thing that is most suspect by business, that
intangible thing called artistry, turns out to be the most practical
tool available to it. For it is only an original talent that can vie
with all the shocking news events and violence in the world for the
attention of the consumer."
"The men who are going to be in
business tomorrow are the men who understand that the future, as
always, belongs to the brave."
"In this very real world,
good doesn't drive out evil. Evil doesn't drive out good. But the
energetic displaces the passive."
"We don't ask research to
do what it was never meant to do, and that is to get an idea."
"Most readers come away from their reading not with a clear,
precise detailed registration of its contents on their minds, but
rather with a vague, misty idea which was formed as much by the
pace, the proportions, the music of the writings as by the literal
"All of us who professionally use the
mass media are the shapers of society. We can vulgarize that
society. We can brutalize it. Or we can help lift it onto a higher
"However much we would like advertising to be a
science-because life would be simpler that way-the fact is that it
is not. It is a subtle, ever-changing art, defying formularization,
flowering on freshness and withering on imitation; where what was
effective one day, for that very reason, will not be effective the
next, because it has lost the maximum impact of originality."
"More and more I have come to the conclusion that a
principle isn't a principle until it costs you money."
real giants have always been poets, men who jumped from facts into
the realm of imagination and ideas."
"If you stand for
something, you will always find some people for you and some against
you. If you stand for nothing, you will find nobody against you, and
nobody for you."