Quote-Unquote what few stalwarts have to say about copywriting

100 Leo's“I have learned that any fool can writea bad ad, but that it takes a real genius to keep his hands off a good one.” 

– Leo Burnett, quoted in 100 LEO’s, Chicago, IL: Leo Burnett Company, p. 53.

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

– Philip Dusenberry, quoted in Eric Clark, The Want Makers: Inside the World of Advertising, 1988, New York: Penguin Books, p. 56.

The Art of Writing Advertising : Conversations with Masters of the Craft: David Ogilvy, William Bernbach, Leo Burnett, Rosser Reeves,“I think central to good writing of advertising, or anything else, is a person who has developed an understanding of people, an insight into them, a sympathy toward them. I think that that develops more sharply when the writer has not had an easy adjustment to living. So that they have themselves felt the need for understanding, the need for sympathy, and can therefore see that need in other people.” 

– George Gribbin, quoted in Denis Higgins, The Art of Writing Advertising: Conversations with Masters of the Craft (1990), Lincolnwood, IL: NTC Business Books, p. 51

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

– George Gribbin, quoted in Denis Higgins, The Art of Writing Advertising: Conversations with Masters of the Craft (1990), Lincolnwood, IL: NTC Business Books, p. 48.

The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations“I have discovered the most exciting, the most arduous literary form of all, the most difficult to master, the most pregnant in curious possibilities. I mean the advertisement . . . . It is far easier to write ten passably effective Sonnets, good enough to take in the not too inquiring critic, than one effective advertisement that will take in a few thousand of the uncritical buying public.” 

– Aldous Huxley (1923), British author, quoted in Robert Andrews, The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations, 1993, New York, NY: Columbia University Press, p. 18.

The International Thesaurus of Quotations : Revised Editon“The trouble with us in America isn’t that the poetry of life has turned to prose, but that it has turned to advertising copy.” 

– Louis Kronenberger (1954), quoted in Rhodas Thomas Tripp, The International Thesaurus of Quotations, 1970, New York, NY: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, p. 18.

Confessions of an Advertising Man“Many people – and I think I am one of them -are more productive when they’ve had a little to drink. I find if I drink two or three brandies, I’m far better able to write.”

David Ogilvy, quoted in Denis Higgins, The Art of Writing Advertising: Conversations with Masters of the Craft (1990), Lincolnwood, IL: NTC Business Books, p. 70.

“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, quoted in Denis Higgins, The Art of Writing Advertising: Conversations with Masters of the Craft (1990), Lincolnwood, IL: NTC Business Books, p. 125.