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The Trouble With Advertising

Quote about some of the problems plaguing the ad industry.

"A lot of pettifoggers on the client side of the advertising trade devote their energies to reducing their agencies' compensation, finding ways to buy space and time at a discount. They would make more money for their stockholders if they instead focused on getting their agencies to concoct better advertising. By better, I mean advertising that increases sales. . . .

"The wrong advertising can actually reduce the sales of a product. George Hay Brown, when he was head of marketing research at Ford, inserted advertisements in every other copy of the Reader's Digest. At the end of a year, the people who had not been exposed to the advertising had bought more Fords than those who had. . . .

"I am worried about the kind of advertising that is in fashion today. Too much of it is pretentious nonsense, highbrow and incomprehensible. Copywriters and art directors aren't trying to sell their clients' products. They are trying to sell themselves. They regard advertising as entertainment -- or an art form. I look on them with contempt. . . . I once got a new client who told me to create a campaign for him that would make his friends at his country club congratulate him on his clever, amusing advertising. I refused. I just gave him a campaign that increased his sales."

-- David Ogilvy, founder of Ogilvy & Mather Advertising, from a speech to the Association of National Advertisers, October 1991

Last updated: Mar 1, 1992

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