75 David Ogilvy Quotes on Marketing, Advertising & Business

David Ogilvy was a famous advertising executive and the founder of Ogilvy & Mather.

Though he faced financial challenges as a boy Ogilvy earned scholarships to prestigious schools.

Before entering advertising he worked as a chef and a stove salesman.

Ogilvy’s career in advertising began at his brother’s agency Mather & Crowther and he later worked in the U.S. with pollster George Gallup.

David Ogilvy Quotes

Ogilvy served in British Intelligence during WWII and tried farming post-war before founding his own advertising agency in 1948.

Ogilvy & Mather went public in 1966 and was bought by WPP Group in 1989.

Ogilvy was a pioneer of “branding” and wrote several influential books on advertising.

He believed in the importance of well-designed and well-written advertisements.

I have made a list of some of the best quotes from David Ogilvy for you.

Best David Ogilvy Quotes

1. “If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative.” ~ (David Ogilvy).


2. “Don’t count the people that you reach, reach the people who count.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

3. “The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

4. “Creativity needs discipline and freedom.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

5. “Where people aren’t having any fun, they seldom produce good work.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

6. “It’s not creative unless it sells.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

7. “Don’t hire a dog, then bark yourself.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

8. “Play to win, but enjoy the fun.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

9. “Consumers don’t think how they feel. They don’t say what they think and they don’t do what they say.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

10. “Encourage innovation. Change is our lifeblood, stagnation our death knell.” ~ (David Ogilvy).


11. “Consumers do not buy products. They buy product benefits.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

12. “I do not regard advertising as entertainment or an art form, but as a medium of information. When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it ‘creative.’ I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

13. “I admire people with gentle manners who treat other people as human beings.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

Wise David Ogilvy Quotes

14. “If you can’t be brilliant, at least be memorable.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

15. “The best idea is the simplest.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

16. “Tell the truth, but make the truth fascinating.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

17. “Positioning should be decided before the advertising is created.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

18. “Compete with the immortals.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

19. “Hard work never killed a man. Men die of boredom, psychological conflict, and disease. They do not die of hard work.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

20. “Big ideas are usually simple ideas.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

21. “Any damn fool can put on a deal, but it takes genius, faith and perseverance to create a brand.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

22. “Nobody has ever built a brand by imitating somebody else’s advertising.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

Popular David Ogilvy Quotes

23. “The consumer isn’t a moron; she is your wife.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

24. “Good products can be sold by honest advertising. If you don’t think the product is good, you have no business to be advertising it.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

25. “A consumer is not a moron. She’s your wife. Don’t insult her intelligence, and don’t shock her.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

26. “We all have a tendency to use research as a drunkard uses a lamppost – for support, but not for illumination.” ~ (David Ogilvy).


27. “Great marketing only makes a bad product fail faster.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

28. “I prefer the discipline of knowledge to the anarchy of ignorance.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

29. “My motto has always been: Only first class business and that in a first class way.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

30. “Nobody ever arrives at a very big idea through a conscious, rational thought process. It comes from your unconscious.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

31. “People who think well, write well.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

32. “Unless your campaign has a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

33. “When you advertise fire extinguishers, open with the fire.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

Top David Ogilvy Quotes

34. “You will never win fame and fortune unless you invent big ideas.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

35. “Don’t bunt. Aim out of the ballpark. Aim for the company of immortals.” ~ (David Ogilvy).


36. “Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

37. “A good advertisement is one which sells the product without drawing attention to itself.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

38. “The headline is the most important element in most advertisements. It is the telegram which decides the reader whether to read the copy.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

39. “We admire people who work hard, who are objective and thorough. We detest office politicians, toadies, bullies, and pompous asses. We abhor ruthlessness. The way up our ladder is open to everybody. In promoting people to top jobs, we are influenced as much by their character as anything else.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

40. “Talent, I believe, is most likely to be found among nonconformists, dissenters, and rebels.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

41. “If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

42. “If you can’t advertise yourself, what hope do you have of advertising anything else?” ~ (David Ogilvy).

Famous David Ogilvy Quotes

43. “Study the methods of your competitors and do the exact opposite.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

44. “First, make yourself a reputation for being a creative genius. Second, surround yourself with partners who are better than you are. Third, leave them to go get on with it.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

45. “If you ever find a man who is better than you are – hire him. If necessary, pay him more than you pay yourself.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

46. “Repeat your winners. If you are lucky enough to write a good advertisement, repeat it until it stops selling. Scores of good advertisements have been discarded before they lost their potency.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

47. “You cannot bore people into buying your product – you can only interest them in buying it.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

48. “When people aren’t having any fun, they seldom produce good work. Kill the grimness with laughter. Encourage exuberance. Get rid of sad dogs that spread gloom.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

49. “What really decides consumers to buy or not to buy is the content of your advertising, not its form.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

50. “Our business is infested with idiots who try to impress by using pretentious jargon.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

51. “You have only 30 seconds in a TV commercial. If you grab attention in the first frame with a visual surprise, you stand a better chance of holding the viewer. People screen out a lot of commercials because they open with something dull. When you advertise fire-extinguishers, open with the fire.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

52. “The temptation to entertain instead of selling is contagious.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

53. “You aren’t advertising to a standing army; you are advertising to a moving parade.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

54. “If you always hire people who are bigger than you are, we shall become a company of giants.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

55. “At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

56. “A well-run restaurant is like a winning baseball team. It makes the most of every crew member’s talent and takes advantage of every split-second opportunity to speed up service.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

57. “The psychiatrists say that everybody should have a hobby. The hobby I recommend is advertising.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

58. “Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it. Look for people who will aim for the remarkable, who will not settle for the routine.” ~ (David Ogilvy).


59. “Within every brand is a product, but not every product is a brand.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

60. “Give people a taste of Old Crow, and tell them it’s Old Crow. Then give them another taste of Old Crow, but tell them it’s Jack Daniel’s. Ask them which they prefer. They’ll think the two drinks are quite different. They are tasting images.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

61. “We exist to build the business of our clients. The recommendations we make to them should be the recommendations we would make if we owned their companies, without regard to our own short-term interest. This earns their respect, which is the greatest asset we can have.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

62. “It has been found that the less an advertisement looks like an advertisement and the more it looks like an editorial, the more readers stop, look, and read.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

Short David Ogilvy Quotes

63. “Write the way you talk. Naturally.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

64. “David Ogilvy made his copywriters come up with 100 different headlines for every ad they wrote.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

65. “If you want action, don’t write. Go and tell the guy what you want.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

66. “If you tell lies about a product, you will be found out – either by the Government, which will prosecute you, or by the consumer, who will punish you by not buying your product a second time.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

67. “Never write more than two pages on any subject.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

68. “When you have nothing to say, sing it.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

69. “Advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

70. “What you say in advertising is more important than how you say it.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

71. “The pursuit of excellence is less profitable than the pursuit of bigness, but it can be more satisfying.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

72. “Nobody should be allowed to create general advertising until he has served his apprenticeship in direct-response.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

73. “On the average, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

74. “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.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

75. “The trouble with many copywriters in general agencies are that they don’t really think in terms of selling. They have never written direct-response; they have never tasted blood.” ~ (David Ogilvy).

You Might Like

Share with others!
Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar