One thing leads to another

Well, I am delighted. When I referred back to the interestingness video by Jeffre Jackson of the planning firm Open Intelligence Agency I heard the quote about reading ads again but wondered who Howard Gossage was. I looked on the Wikipedia (which I find more useful than Google for specific leads and information - and for checking student essays for plagiarism), but there was no reference. Though maybe I spelled it wrong. So I went back to Google and found a terrific tribute site to Howard Luck Gossage - The 'Socrates of San Francisco' and advertising's 'most articulate critic'.

I can't understand why I had never heard of Gossage, even if only through quotations or reputation. He seems to have been lost in the literature - at least in this part of the world.

Gossage certainly counts as The One Only and an iconoclast of high distinction.

I enjoyed learning about his concept of The Extra-environmental Man (person, if you want to be anachronistically PC about it) - 'the individual who is capable of breaking the bounds of his environment and seeing the world afresh'.

He is, apparently , one of the most quoted people in Advertising, here are some doozies:

On Repetition in Advertising

"If you have something pertinent to say you neither have to say it to very many people -- only those who you think will be interested -- nor do you have to say it very often . . . if it is interesting, once is enough. If it is dull, once is plenty."

"You don't have to bruise an elephant all over to kill him. One shot in the right place will do."

On Audience-Orientation

"Our first duty is not to the old sales curve, it is to the audience."

"I don't know how to speak to everybody, only to somebody."

"People don't read advertising per se. They read what interests them. And sometimes it's an ad."

"To ask consumers how they like ads is like asking a galley slave what he thinks of his job calisthenics-wise."

On Intelligent Advertising

Calling for more intelligent advertising, involving the consumers. Gossage often used this quote from the work of short story master Saki
"In baiting a trap, always leave room for the mouse."

If you've read some of my blog entries and columns in Idealog magazine and on this blog, you'll understand the kick I got from this particle of ignorance being replaced.

I need to find out more.


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