42 Of The Best David Ogilvy Quotes (Part 2)

42 Of The Best David Ogilvy Quotes (Part 2)

David Ogilvy was a renowned advertising executive and copywriter who founded the advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather. 

Thanks to Ogilvy’s talent, charm and leadership, the agency he started grew into a very successful organisation which has created many effective campaigns for brands, including Dove, Rolls-Royce, Shell, The Economist, British Airways, and many more. 

His name still stands on agency doors around the world, and the Ogilvy group is still one of the world's largest, with over 300 offices in more than 100 countries. 

To get a flavour of how his mind works, we’ve hand-picked 42 of his best sayings below. 

You can read the first bunch in Part 1.  

We hope they inspire and encourage you to jump down a David Ogilvy-shaped rabbit hole.

Trust us; it will be well worth it. 

1. "The best advertising should make you nervous about what you're not buying."

2. "Never assume people understand what you're talking about. If you're selling something technical or complicated, write as if you're explaining it to your grandmother."

3. "If you can't advertise yourself, what hope do you have of advertising anything else?"

4. "The consumer isn't a moron; she is your wife. You insult her intelligence if you assume that a mere slogan and a few vapid adjectives will persuade her to buy anything.”

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

6. "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."

7. "The headline is the 'ticket on the meat.' Use it to flag down readers who are prospects for the kind of product you are advertising."

8. "The best advertising is a happy customer."

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

10. "Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it."

11. "The function of advertising is to sell the product."

12. "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."3

13. Big ideas are usually simple ideas."

14. "Good copy can't be written with tongue in cheek, written just for a living. You've got to believe in the product."

15. "You cannot bore people into buying your product, you can only interest them in buying it.”

16. "I have a theory that the best ads come from personal experience. Some of the good ones I have done have really come out of the real experience of my life, and somehow this has come over as true and valid and persuasive."

17. "People don't buy from people they don't like.”

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

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

20. “Big ideas come from the unconscious. This is true in art, in science and in advertising. But your unconscious has to be well informed, or your idea will be irrelevant. Stuff your conscious mind with information, then unhook your rational thought process. You can help this process by going for a long walk, or taking a hot bath, or drinking half a pint of claret. Suddenly, if the telephone line from your unconscious is open, a big idea wells up within you.”

21. "If you want to be interesting, be interested."

The spirit of David Ogilvy lives on in our range of courses from the Ogilvy brand, including Behavioural Economics, Applied Behavioural Science, Behavioural Science for Effective Messaging, and Social Media. 

Our Body Language for Business course is now live!

Our Body Language for Business course is now live!

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