38 Great Copywriting and Advertising Quotes to Inspire You

quotation-marksSometimes the best way to explain copywriting techniques and challenges is to sum them up. This also makes for engaging bits of wisdom.  Here are 38 quotes that inspire even the most experienced copywriters – some from the celebrated masters, others from the lesser known virtuosos.
1.  “Imagination is one of the last remaining legal means you have to gain an unfair advantage over your competition.” Ed McCabe


2. “If writers write, do copywriters copy? Yes.” Source Unknown

3. “The lead either forges an instant connection with the reader, or the package fails.” Robert Bly

4. “The real advertising writer who is after results makes the reader want something – and then provides what the reader will consider a good excuse for buying it.” Clyde Bedell

5.  “A copywriter should have ‘an understanding of people, an insight into them, a sympathy toward them.” George Gribbin

6. “The most powerful element in advertising is the truth.” William Bernbach

7. “There are two motives to action: self-interest and fear.” Napoleon Bonaparte

8. “Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does.” Stuart H. Britt

9. “Make your copy straightforward to read, understand and use. Use easy words; those that are used for everyday speech. Use phrases that are not too imprecise and very understandable. Do not be too stuffy; remove pompous words and substitute them with plain words. Minimize complicated gimmicks and constructions. If you can’t give the data directly and briefly, you must consider writing the copy again.” Jay Abraham

10. “Don’t confuse visibility with credibility.” Harvey Mackay

11. “Every advertisement must be considered as a contribution to the complex symbol which is the brand image.” David Ogilvy

12. “People aren’t interested in you. They’re interested in themselves.” Dale Carnegie

13. “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.” Dale Carnegie

14. “Sometimes the most important job advertising can do, is to clarify the obvious.” Jay Chiat

15. “How dismal is progress without publicity.” Theodore Dreiser

16. “We don’t want to be something for everybody, we want to be everything for some people.”
Carlos Ghosn

17. “People don’t read advertising, they read what interests them. Sometimes, it’s an ad.” Howard Gossage

18. “Copy is a direct conversation with the consumer.” Shirley Polykoff

19. “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

20. “There is no such thing as ‘soft sell’ and ‘hard sell.’ There is only ‘smart sell’ and ‘stupid sell’.”
Charles Browder

21. “If you can’t turn yourself into a consumer, you probably shouldn’t be in the advertising business at all.” Leo Burnett

22. “Creativity can solve almost any problem.” George Lois

23. “I don’t know how to speak to everybody, only to somebody.” Howard Gossage

24. “Consumers do not buy products. They buy product benefits.” David Ogilvy

25. “The secret of all true persuasion is to induce the person to persuade himself.” Harry Overstreet

26. “The mystery of writing advertisements consists mainly in saying in a few plain words exactly what it is desired to say, precisely as it would be written in a letter or told to an acquaintance.” George P. Rowell

27. “Resist the usual.” Raymond Rubicam

28. “Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.” Mark Twain

29. “It is always better to have a few people read your advertisement and buy your product than to have a lot of them read it and do nothing about it.” Walter Weir

30. “In writing good advertising it is necessary to put a mood into words and to transfer that mood to the reader.” Helen Woodward

31. “On the average, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy.”
David Ogilvy

32. “It follows that unless your headline sells your product, you have wasted 90 percent of your money…” David Ogilvy

33. “Mirror the reader to himself and then show him afterward how your product fits his needs.”
Raymond Rubicam

34. “The man who stops advertising to save money is like the man who stops the clock to save time.’ Thomas Jefferson

35. “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.” Leo Burnett

36. “Copy is not written. If anyone tells you ‘you write copy’, sneer at them. Copy is not written. Copy is assembled. You do not write copy, you assemble it. You are working with a series of building blocks, you are putting the building blocks together, and then you are putting them in certain structures, you are building a little city of desire for your person to come and live in.” Eugene Schwartz

37.  “The vast majority of products are sold because of the need for love, the fear of shame, the pride of achievement, the drive for recognition, the yearning to feel important, the urge to look attractive, the lust for power, the longing for romance, the need to feel secure, the terror of facing the unknown, the lifelong hunger for self-esteem and so on. Emotions are the fire of human motivation, the combustible force that secretly drives most decisions to buy. When your marketing harnesses those forces correctly you will generate explosive increases in response.” Gary Bencivenga

38. “To impress your offer on the mind of the reader or listener, it is necessary to put it into brief, simple language…No farfetched or obscure statement will stop them. You have got to hit them where they live in the heart or in the head. You have got to catch their eyes or ears with something simple, something direct, something they want.” John Caples 

Do you have a quote that inspires you?




10 thoughts on “38 Great Copywriting and Advertising Quotes to Inspire You

  1. Chathu

    If I am right with the interpretation, to burst into the copywriting scene, you must write copy that can’t be ignored

  2. Pingback: 22 Copywriting Quotes to Help Inspire Your Most Compelling Message Yet | Stacey Mathis Copywriting

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