some of my favorite books and the source for many of these quotes.
Welcome to Fleege's collection of Advertising Quotes and Advertising Philosophy. Picasso said and "lived" by the belief that only by knowing and understanding the rules are you capable and allowed to break them -- which is why he never painted realism past the age of 12 or so. I value and live by these rules and philosophies but I also know when and how to break them. Should you have a quote or a personal philosophy that you would like to share please contact:

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Philosophy - Wisdom - Quotations - Rules: Advertising, Design, Creativity, Media, Art Direction, and Copywriting.

"The billboard is finished, when you no longer can find a single element to remove"

- Robert Fleege

"The brain is a wonderful organ. It starts the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get to the office"

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Our creative advertising services are like that of a hair salon. We can take your orders and do exactly what you ask for, but remember, you are the one who's going to wear the hairstyle"

- Can't remember where I picked this up but I admire it and I've kinda adopted the attitude. Could have been John Butler or Mike Shine of Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners, Sausalito.

"Embrace restrictions. Some of the best ideas & solutions come from constraints. If there aren't any, go ahead create some of your own." For example: What if you could not use any words or text. What if you could not mention the product - What if the product had to occupy 77% of the ad space...

- Robert Fleege

"Orville Wright did not have a pilot's license"

- Cranium's Website

"Sell a good night's sleep - not the mattress"

- Instructor at Academy of Art University, Advertising program

"The client will always pick the concept that you like the least -- Never present any concepts you don't like"

- Robert Fleege

"It is not how many ideas you have -- It is how many you make happen"

- Accenture print ad

"It's hurting our industry when most young art directors have to learn the hard way that the small-logo-in-the-corner treatment doesn't work in outdoor."

- Robert Fleege

6 words - 6 seconds (variation: 7 words - 7 seconds)

- Outdoor advertising creative mantra

"A terrible ad shown multiple times is just a terrible ad shown multiple times. You might as well roll a new BMW into a lake each time."

- PHS Paltemaa Huttunen Santala Helsinki (loose translation and from Fleege's memory ca 10 years back)

"Creativity beats frequency anytime."

- Robert Fleege

...and Bernbach agrees:

"In communications, familiarity breeds apathy."

- William Bernbach

"The number of ideas to implement in advertising design should be odd - and three's too many"

- Timo Everi, Hasan & Partners Helsinki

"Use familiar words. Use short words instead of long ones. Don't write like a scrabble champion."

- Gary Provost, 100 ways to improve your writing

"Direct hard-sell advertising is like walking into a room full of strangers at a cocktail party and go: 'Hi my name is Robert, I'm a great guy' -- It doesn't work. They'll think you're a jerk"

- Robert Fleege

to understand it better:

"Creativity in advertising is your permission to pitch."

- Robert Fleege

or Confusius version:

"Worry not that no one knows of you; seek to be worth knowing."

- Confucius

but Mr. Advertising San Francisco said it best:

"Nobody reads ads. People read what interests them. Sometimes it's an ad."

- Howard Gossage

"The biggest mistake in designing for outdoor is to mistake outdoor for print advertising."

- Robert Fleege

"Outdoor is NOT print -- even if it is printed on poster paper."

- Robert Fleege

"At the client briefing take your notes for the "required" billboard content on the back of your business card"

- John Pavao, Clearchannel Outdoor

"The biggest mistake young designers make is that they try to make their advertising look like advertising"

- Jeff Goodby

The reporter to his editor: "If I've had more time, the story would have been shorter"

- Don't remember where I picked up the quote but I love it. Robert Fleege

Found in Egyptian writings dating 5000 BC: "It is so hard to be a writer these days when everything has been written"

- Adds perspective to your writer's block doesn't it. Robert Fleege

"Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell and advertise."

- Ted Turner

"You don't need an ad agency to sell discounted pricing" - Brian Birch ( Brian threw a pocket full of coins against the wall while critting work in a senior conceptual class. No, luckily the work wasn't mine but I walked away with the lesson. - RF )

- Brian Birch, Instructor Academy of Art University

"Kill your darlings"

- Kristian (talented college roommate from Stockholm, Sweden - Kristian where are you these days?)

"I know half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, but I can never find out which half"

- John Wanamaker


- Tony Kaye's complete ADWEEK Creative Seminars speech on "How to get the best work out your TV- Commercial Director" (I was there and I guess it's one of those "must have been there" kinda stories)

Outdoor: It's not a medium, It's an extra large.

- OAAA advertising slogan

There's a time when you talk and listen and then there's a time after your presentation when you lean back, shut up, and THINK to yourself: "F**k you -- I'm a genius"

- Could have been Rick Boyko, or other seasoned copywriter

"It takes courage to be creative. Just as soon as you have a new idea, you are a minority of one."

- E. Paul Torrance

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist when you grow up."

- Pablo Picasso

"Lack of money is no obstacle. Lack of an idea is an obstacle."

- Ken Hakuta

"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I experience and I understand."

- Confucius

(Was this guy in advertising or what :) RF

"I've never found a client's business problem that could be solved solely through advertising."

- Lee Clow

"It doesn't matter what you do as long as you whistle on your way to work"

- Åke Åström (my dear late grandfather, Mofa I miss you and thank you for the advice!!!)

Confucius agrees:

"Find a job that you like and you will never have to work another day in your life"

- Confucius

"I figured that if I said it enough, I would convince the world that I really was the greatest."

- Muhammad Ali

"Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions."

- Oliver Wendell Holmes

"Advertising is salesmanship on paper"

- John E Kennedy

"I have learned that any fool can write a bad ad, but that it takes a real genius to keep his hands off a good one."

- Leo Burnett

"If I were starting life over again, I am inclined to think that I would go into the advertising business in preference to almost any other . . . . The general raising of the standards of modern civilization among all groups of people during the past half century would have been impossible without the spreading of the knowledge of higher standards by means of advertising."

- Franklin Roosevelt

"Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people."

- Leo Burnett

"There is no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary."

- Brendan Behan

"In the ad game, the days are tough, the nights are long, and the work is emotionally demanding. But it's worth it, because the rewards are shallow, transparent and meaningless."

- Author Unknown

"There is a great deal of advertising that is much better than the product. When that happens, all that the good advertising will do is put you out of business faster."

- Jerry Della Famina

"Advertising nourishes the consuming power of men. It sets up before a man the goal of a better home, better clothing, better food for himself and his family. It spurs individual exertion and greater production."

- Sir Winston Churchill, 1874 - 1965.

"Hollywood has its Oscars. Television has its Emmys. Broadway has its Tonys. And advertising has its Clios. And its Andys, Addys, Effies and Obies. And 117 other assorted awards. And those are just the big ones."

- Joanne Lipman

"You can fool all the people all the time if the advertising is right and the budget is big enough."
- Joseph E. Levine

"Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising."

- Mark Twain

"The sale most often goes to the most interested party."

- Steve Chandler 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself

"If you have a good selling idea, your secretary can write your ad for you."

- Morris Hite

"I have learned to respect ideas, wherever they come from. Often they come from clients. Account executives often have big creative ideas, regardless of what some writers think."

- Leo Burnett

"I have always believed that writing advertisements is the second most profitable form of writing. The first, of course, is ransom notes . . . ."

- Philip Dusenberry

"I have learned that you can't have good advertising without a good client, that you can't keep a good client without good advertising, and no client will ever buy better advertising than he understands”

- Leo Burnett

To advertisers: "Do not compete with your agency in the creative area. Why keep a dog and bark yourself?"

- David Ogilvy

"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."

- David Ogilvy

"Great designers seldom make great advertising men, because they get overcome by the beauty of the picture - and forget that merchandise must be sold."

- James Randolph Adams

"If you don't get noticed, you don't have anything. You just have to be noticed, but the art is in getting noticed naturally, without screaming or without tricks."

- Leo Burnett

"Advertising says to people, 'Here's what we've got. Here's what it will do for you. Here's how to get it.'"

- Leo Burnett

"Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read."

- Leo Burnett

"Great ideas need landing gear as well as wings." 

- C.D. Jackson

"I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it."

- Pablo Picasso

"The right name is an advertisement in itself."

- Claude C. Hopkins

"Advertising in the final analysis should be news. If it is not news it is worthless."

- Adolph S.

"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."

- David Ogilvy

"If you are writing about baloney, don't try to make it Cornish hen, because that is the worst kind of baloney there is. Just make it darned good baloney."

- Leo Burnett

"A writer should be joyous, an optimist . . . Anything that implies rejection of life is wrong for a writer."

- George Gribbin

"You must make the product interesting, not just make the ad different. And that's what too many of the copywriters in the U.S. today don't yet understand."

- Rosser Reeves

"Properly practiced creativity can make one ad do the work of ten."

- William Bernbach

"In advertising not to be different is virtually suicidal."

- William Bernbach

"The secret of all effective originality in advertising is not the creation of new and tricky words and pictures, but one of putting familiar words and pictures into new relationships."

- Leo Burnett

"We find that advertising works the way the grass grows. You can never see it, but every week you have to mow the lawn."

- Andy Tarshis

"The human body has two ears and one mouth. To be good at persuading or selling, you must learn to use those natural devices in proportion. Listen twice as much as you talk and you'll succeed in persuading others nearly every time."

- Tom Hopkins

"Advertising is only evil when it advertises evil things."

- David Ogilvy

"The value of an ad is in inverse ratio to the number of times it has been used."

- Raymond Rubicam

"There is no such thing as a permanent advertising success."

- Leo Burnett

"Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper."

- Thomas Jefferson

"The big print giveth and the small print taketh away."

- Tom Waitts

"The faults of advertising are only those common to all human institutions. If advertising speaks to a thousand in order to influence one, so does the church. And if it encourages people to live beyond their means, so does matrimony. Good times, bad times, there will always be advertising. In good times, people want to advertise; in bad times they have to."

- Bruce Barton, chairman of BBDO

"Big ideas are so hard to recognize, so fragile, so easy to kill. Don't forget that, all of you who don't have them."

- John Elliott, Jr

"In the factory we make cosmetics; in the drugstore we sell hope."

- Charles Revson

"Buy me and you will overcome the anxieties I have just reminded you of."

- Michael Schudson

"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, The Trouble with Advertising

"The advertisers who believe in the selling power of jingles have never had to sell anything."

- David Ogilvy

"I've never found a client's business problem that could be solved solely through advertising."

- Lee Clow

"The buying of time or space is not the taking out of a hunting license on someone else's private preserve but is the renting of a stage on which we may perform."

- Howard Gossage

"One Ad is worth more to a paper than forty Editorials."

- Will Rogers

"You see, advertising is a substitute for a salesperson, so it should be likeable. Who would buy from a salesperson who is rude, arrogant or insulting? People like to do business with people they like, therefore they respond to advertising created by people who like people."

- Jerry Goodis

"The number of agency people required to shoot a commercial on location is in direct proportion to the mean temperature of the location."

- Shelby Page

"Don't tell my mother I'm in advertising. She thinks I play piano in a whore house."

- Author unknown

"A great ad campaign will make a bad product fail faster. It will get more people to know it's bad."

- William Bernbach

"We want consumers to say, 'That's a hell of a product' instead of, 'That's a hell of an ad.'"

- Leo Burnett

"It used to be that people needed products to survive. Now products need people to survive."

- Nicholas Johnson

"The product that will not sell without advertising will not sell profitably with advertising."

- Albert Lasker

"What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself."

- Abraham Lincoln

"Asked about the power of advertising in research surveys, most agree that it works, but not on them."

- Eric Clark

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

- David Ogilvy

"If advertising had a little more respect for the public, the public would have a lot more respect for advertising."

- James Randolph Adams

"To explain responsibility to advertising men is like trying to convince an eight-year-old that sexual intercourse is more fun than a chocolate ice cream cone."

- Howard Gossage

"Advertisements may be evaluated scientifically; they cannot be created scientifically."

- Leo Bogart

"A good ad which is not run never produces sales."

- Leo Burnett

"You need to build addiction. Once you get users hooked to a service, price sensitivity changes."

- Tomi Ahonen

"If it doesn't sell, it isn't creative."

David Ogilvy

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

- David Ogilvy

"Plan the sale when you plan the ad."

- Leo Burnett

"Today's smartest advertising style is tomorrow's corn."

- William Bernbach

"Nobody counts the number of ads you run; they just remember the impression you make."

- William Bernbach

"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."

- David Ogilvy

"There is no such thing as national advertising. All advertising is local and personal. It's one man or woman reading one newspaper in the kitchen or watching TV in the den."

- Morris Hite

"It has taken more than a hundred scientists two years to find out how to make the product in question; I have been given thirty days to create its personality and plan its launching. If I do my job well, I shall contribute as much as the hundred scientists to the success of this product."

- David Ogilvy

"If commerce is the engine of our economy, then advertising is the spark. Responsible advertisers are the drivers who keep us on the right track, leading to a richer, more benevolent society."

- Brian Philcox

"The philosophy behind much advertising is based on the old observation that every man is really two men - the man he is and the man he wants to be."

- William Feather

"It is not necessary to advertise food to hungry people, fuel to cold people, or houses to the homeless."

- John Kenneth Galbraith

"Make the layouts rough and the ideas fancy."

Stavros Cosmopulos

"There is more money wasted in advertising by underspending than by overspending. Years ago someone said that underspending in advertising is like buying a ticket halfway to Europe. You've spent your money but you never get there."

- Morris Hite

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Robert Fleege is a freelance art director and copywriter specializing in creative outdoor billboard advertising design & production. Out-of-home Posters and transit media. Wallscapes, Bus Posters and bench advertising. Nationwide Media, Creative and production services: Akron, Albuquerque Atlanta, Atlantic City, Austin, Canton, Cincinnati, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Fort Worth, Houston, Las Vegas, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Louisville, Miami, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Orleans, New Jersey, New York City, Oakland, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, Reno, Richmond, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose, Seattle, St Louis, Tampa Bay, Toledo, Washington DC.

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