26 Incredible David Ogilvy Quotes

David Oglivy was a well known advertising executive, commonly referred to as the ‘Father of Advertising.’ With no history in advertising, Oglivy built one of the top advertising firms that served some of the biggest brands. His success was based on his ability to be imaginative and take a chance. Here are some of the best David Ogilvy quotes ever documented.

“A good advertisement is one which sells the product without drawing attention to itself.”

“Advertising is a business of words, but advertising agencies are infested with men and women who cannot write. They cannot write advertisements, and they cannot write plans. They are helpless as deaf mutes on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera.”

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

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

“Do not … address your readers as though they were gathered together in a stadium. When people read your copy, they are alone.”


“Pretend you are writing to each of them a letter on behalf of your client.”

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

“Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it. Look for people who will aim for the remarkable, who will not settle for the routine.”

“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.”

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

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

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

“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.”

“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.”

“Political advertising ought to be stopped. It’s the only really dishonest kind of advertising that’s left. It’s totally dishonest.”

“Rules are what the artist breaks; the memorable never emerged from a formula.”

“Talent, I believe, is most likely to be found among nonconformists.”

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

“The consumer isn’t a moron; she is your wife.”

“The pursuit of excellence is less profitable than the pursuit of bigness, but it can be more satisfying.”

“There is no need for advertisements to look like advertisements. If you make them look like editorial pages, you will attract about 50 per cent more readers.”

“There isn’t any significant difference between the various brands of whiskey, or cigarettes or beer. They are all about the same. And so are the cake mixes and the detergents, and the margarines… The manufacturer who dedicates his advertising to building the most sharply defined personality for his brand will get the largest share of the market at the highest profit.”

“Training should not be confined to trainees. It should be a continuous process, and should include the entire professional staff of the agency. The more our people learn, the more useful they can be to our clients.”

“What really decides consumers to buy or not to buy is the content of your advertising, not its form.”

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

“You now have to decide what ‘image’ you want for your brand. Image means personality. Products, like people, have personalities, and they can make or break them in the market place.”

Check out this brief video on everything you need to know about David Ogilvy and how he became the legend he is today.

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