Never Write an Advertisement Which You Wouldn’t Want Your Own Family To Read

Creator: David Ogilvy, influential advertising executive who founded the top firm Ogilvy & Mather

Context: In 1963 Ogilvy published the best-seller “Confessions of an Advertising Man” which included the following advice: 1

Never Write an Advertisement Which You Wouldn’t Want Your Own Family To Read.

You wouldn’t tell lies to your own wife. Don’t tell them to mine. Do as you would be done by.

To dissuade readers from using deception Ogilvy emphasized the negative repercussions of lying to the consumer:

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.

Acknowledgement: Thanks to ‘Effector’ who asked QI to verify a solid citation for this quotation.

Image Notes: Picture of Times Square in New York City from sayidomar0193 at Pixabay. Image has been cropped and resized.

Notes:

  1. 1963, Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy, Chapter 5: How to Build Great Campaigns, Quote Page 99, Atheneum, New York. (Verified with hardcopy)