Good quotes on copywriting for ads

Digital creativity blog by Flow Bohl, 19.3.2010

Good copywriting is hard to come by. Here are my favourite quotes about copywriting in advertising from successful copywriters:

Quotes on Truthful Copywriting

'The first thing ... is to have the attention of the reader. That means to be interesting. The next thing is to stick to the truth, and that means rectifying whatever's wrong in the merchant's business. If the truth isn't tellable, fix it so it is. That is about all there is to it.' John Powers' words from 1890 are very much applicable to the very day.

'To this day people still imagine a bad product can be saved by advertising. It can't.' (Drayton Bird) 'A great ad campaign will make a bad product fail faster. It will get more people to know it's bad... The most powerful element in advertising is the truth.' (William Bernbach)

Leo Burnett doesn't think about truth quite the same: 'I am one who believes that one of the greatest dangers of advertising is not that of misleading people, but that of boring them to death'.

Copywriters on simplicity

'Clutter is the disease of American writing ... We are a society strangling in unnecessary words, circular constructions, pompous frills and meaningless jargon.' (William Zinsser in On Writing Well) 'Our job is to sell our clients' merchandise... not ourselves. Our job is to kill the cleverness that makes us shine instead of the product. Our job is to simplify, to tear away the unrelated, to pluck out the weeds that are smothering the product message' (William Bernbach).

However Don't confuse simplicity with brevity. Drayton Bird argues that 'little copy does a complete selling job, and many still imagine brevity works best. It doesn't. Time after time, for nearly fifty years, I have seen long copy beat short'.

Copywriters about consumers

'Language is the currency of the mind. To think conceptually, you manipulate words. With the right choice of words, you can influence the thinking process' of consumers (Jack Trout, Al Ries).

'If you can't turn yourself into your customer, you probably shouldn't be in the ad writing business at all' (Leo Burnett). 'The customer is not a moron: she is your wife' (David Ogilvy).

Great read on how James Joyce was a writer ahead of his time.

And as a last point a video about copywriting and consumers with a clever twist at the end:

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