Howard Luck Gossage

The Socrates of San Francisco

By in Inspiration on 2011/11/06

One of the best ways to empower ou creativity is to stand on the shoulder of giants. From David Ogilvy to Hegarty there’s plenty to choose from.

Yet, there’s one an advertising agency founder that has been forgotten, that 50 years ago was already discussing issues like sustainability or escort bayan interconnectivity. Oh, and he also brought to San Francisco an obscure canadian academic named Marshall McLuhan.

The giant i’m writing about is Howard Luck Gossage. A critic but also reformer of the advertising industry, his thoughts are remarkably modern and fit to our interactive age:

“The real fact of the matter is that nobody reads ads. People read what interests them. Sometimes it’s an ad.”

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

“Copywriters are very strange people who have only reached copywriting after eliminating every other means of making a living through writing”

“If you have something pertinent to say, you neither have to say it to very many people –only to those who you think will be interested–nor do you have to say it very often. How many times do you have to be told that your house is on fire?”

“First, what is the difference between seeing an ad on a billboard and seeing an ad in a magazine? The answer, in a word, is permission”

“To explain responsibility to advertising men is like trying to convince an eight-year-old that sexual intercourse is more fun than a chocolate ice cream cone.”

To revive  the thoughts of this great ad man, young british director Ashley Pollak has launched a crowdfunding effort to make a documentary about his life. Donate at and get your perks suchs as being one of the first to appear in the credits or your own private screening session. And it’s cheaper than his book on Amazon.

“In which a guy clearly does not set out to change the world, but does so, then denies he ever did, and has a whole bunch of people over for drinks who will all go on to become famous and miss him for the rest of their lives” — Jeff Goodby

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