“All of us who professionally use the mass media are the shapers of society. We can vulgarize that society. We can brutalize it. Or we can help lift it onto a higher level.”


Issue 58: Bill Bernbach Said

August 13th marks the 105th anniversary of Bill Bernbach’s birth. It’s a day we celebrate across the DDB world. And a day that humbles us. We are responsible to uphold the greatest legacy in our business – a legacy that taught us how impactful we can be for our clients and how we can even change the world. He showed us the power of appealing to people’s intelligence and sense of humor. Of artistry and simplicity. He taught us the true meaning of innovation and insightfulness. And his principles inspire us to be creative revolutionaries today.

Bill Bernbach is quoted continually throughout Lemon2020. We at DDB have always looked to his words for guidance. His ideals are still the measure of great work and good taste. For 30 years, a collection of some of his favorite quotes has been gifted to DDB employees and friends in a book called Bill Bernbach Said… We share them here with you today. To quote the original footnote of this book, “We felt that the only way to share some of Bill’s ideas with you would be to let him speak for himself.”

You can say the right thing about a product and nobody will listen. You’ve got to say it in such a way that people will feel it in their gut. Because if they don’t feel it, nothing will happen.

Properly practiced creativity MUST result in greater sales more economically achieved. Properly practiced creativity can lift your claims out of the swamp of sameness and make them accepted, believed, persuasive, urgent.

Merely to let your imagination run riot, to dream unrelated dreams, to indulge in graphic acrobatics and verbal gymnastics is NOT being creative.  The creative person has harnessed his imagination.  He has disciplined it so that every thought, every idea, every word he puts down, every line he draws, every light and shadow in every photograph he takes, makes more vivid, more believable, more persuasive the original theme or product advantage he has decided he must convey.

I can put down on a page a picture of a man crying, and it’s just a picture of a man crying.  Or I can put him down in such a way as to make you want to cry.  The difference is artistry – the intangible thing that business distrusts.