We’ve already brought you our favourite adverts of all-time and given you the lowdown on which social media accounts you should be following for a mixture of insight and entertainment. This time we’ve asked around the office to come up with our list of the best quotes or pieces of advice that we’ve heard.
Just like us, it’s an eclectic bunch.
A few quotes to get things started
“You can’t make everyone happy, you’re not a jar of Nutella.”
You want to open any blog on a strong note and this piece of wisdom shared by our office hero, Mhairi, is a belter. Why does it resonate so strongly with her though?
“B'coz - Everyone loves Nutella, I'm never gonna be Nutella, and I'm okay with that.” You may not be Nutella, Mhairi, but we do all love you!
“I’ve taught them everything they know. Not everything I know, but everything they know.”
Media Director Peter has been in the business for a number of years and has a lot of experience to share. In that regard, he’s probably taught most of us everything we know. But now we find out he’s been holding some knowledge back…!
“The creative failed the pish-o-meter test.”
This quote recounted by our MD, Ali, may not be put into flowery language but it conveys its meaning effectively and certainly sticks in the mind. Which is exactly what creative work should do.
Words on failure
"Storms don't last forever."
Thankfully, even in the event that the creative has failed the pish-o-meter test, there’s always the chance to put things right. The moment will pass and the sun will come out again. Another bit of wisdom that Mhairi lives by.
“The biggest failure in life is the failure to try.”
Tough times will come and you shouldn’t hide from them. You have to put yourself out there. Client Services Director Chris had this quote drummed into him by his grandfather and still follows it now. “I try and apply this everyday; the guilt of failing him helps drive me on.”
“The man who never made a mistake never made anything at all.”
Another piece of wisdom on a similar note comes to Digital Media Planner Ria via her dad.
“We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes -- understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.”
Another of Ali’s favourite quotes, from Arianna Huffington, continues the theme. Failure isn’t a problem, it’s part of the process.
“Admit your mistakes, and most importantly learn from them.”
Account Director Dawn also taps into the growth mindset of using mistakes as lessons.
"The difference between successful people and others is how long they spend time feeling sorry for themselves.”
This quote from Barbara Corcoran, another of Ali’s favourites, underlines that it’s how you react to tough times that determines your progress.
Words on change
"If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses."
Digital Planner Ian is a big fan of this Henry Ford quote that illustrates the need to try. If Ford had lacked the courage of his convictions and merely followed the rest, maybe right we’d now have a stables outside of the office rather than a car park.
Though thinking about it, some of the team would be delighted with that!
“If you keep on doing the same things, you’ll inevitably get the same result.”
Ali is also on board with Ford’s sense of innovation. Only change leads to change.
“Make decisions, not choices.”
This is another bit of advice that Ali lives by, and here’s why:
“Choices are easier, they are there ready to be taken and are easier to make, but they might not really be the right solution. A bigger decision will inevitably be harder, but it may get you to the solution quicker, and be more pain free in the long run.”
Words on Planning
"If you can't measure it, you can't manage it."
Of course, if you want to be able to make a change then it helps to have data to inform it. That’s why Ian is such a fan of this quote from Peter Drucker.
“Don’t measure what you can, measure what you should.”
Lane Media MD Barry is also a fan of measurement and uses these words to ensure that he’s always working with the right data for the purpose.
“Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
Dawn also understands the importance of being informed and prepared when it comes to making the right choices.
"There is no right media plan, but there are varying degrees of the wrong media plan."
Barry may not believe in perfection, but he does believe in ongoing analysis and refinement to get to the best possible outcome.
“A great ad campaign will make a bad product fail faster. It will get more people to know it's bad.”
Of course, marketing is only ever a part of the bigger picture. Head of Content Teddy flags this quote from legendary adman Bill Bernbach that reminds us there has to be something tangible behind even the best words and imagery.
“You can’t polish a turd.”
Family Creative Director Kevin isn’t a fan of spending time on bad ideas either. He lives by these words that he applies to the “not so big ideas” that will never match the impact of truly big ideas.
Words on reaching an audience
“The most powerful element in advertising is the truth.”
This Bernbach quote resonates with Teddy and is all the more pertinent in the era of ‘fake news’.
"The consumer isn't a moron, she is your wife."
Ian recalls the words of another legendary adman, David Ogilvy (We should point out that Ian also flags and disavows the underlying sexist assumptions of the language), when remembering that the aim is always to sell, not to pull the wool over people’s eyes.
“If you can’t explain it to a six year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.”
As Ian highlights with his love of this Einstein quote, if you do want to be able to clearly and honestly communicate something, it is necessary to know what you’re talking about in the first place.
“Stupid people think complicated is clever.”
Teddy favours the words of iconic adman Dave Trott when summing up why some people avoid expressing things in a clear and stripped-down fashion.
"He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp posts - for support rather than for illumination."
Some of the stupid people Dave Trott has in mind probably use statistics in the same way that Andrew Lang described here, another favourite quote of Ian’s.
Words on dealing with others
“If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”
Years of experience in the advertising industry have taught Kevin that work comes out looking the way it does for any number of reasons that an outsider looking in can never grasp. That’s why even if he’s not a fan of a piece of work produced by another agency, he keeps shtoom. A piece of professional courtesy he also hopes for in return.
“Treat others how you want to be treated.”
This simple but ever-effective quote is a favourite of Kevin’s fellow Family Creative Director, David. It does suggest, though, that Manchester United fan David doesn’t actually have Sir Alex Ferguson as his guru. Unless we missed that bit when Sir Alex confessed that what he really wanted in life was for David Beckham to bounce a boot off his head.
“Be nice to people on your way up. You’ll meet them on you way down.”
Ali remains conscious of this famous old adage, one that could apply to Hollywood or adland alike.
“I’d never get tired of slapping him.”
Then again, Ali’s favourite quotes about how to treat people do seem to betray some level of contradiction…!
Here’s an explanation from the MD herself:
“Well, who hasn’t thought that in the back of their head when someone has been repeatedly telling us something incorrect (bullsh*tting) or not what we want to hear. It’s inappropriate – but, it’s funny. I just like the ‘never get tired’ bit which makes it so much more effective.”
“Work hard and be nice to people.”
Dawn opts for a winning combination of friendliness and endeavour with this quote. And no slapping.
Words on life
“Life’s short. Buy the shoes. Drink the wine. Eat the cake.”
This one is Ali’s mantra. “I definitely live this one, every week. My own personal version is: Life’s short. Buy the shoes. Drink the Gin. Do the Jump. Eat the empire biscuit.”
“Always be true to yourself.”
This simple but important guiding principle is always foremost in Dawn’s thinking.
“The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible.”
Teddy uses this quote from David Ogilvy to bridge his old world of stand-up comedy and his new world of marketing.
“Drink some coffee, put on some gangster rap… and deal with it.”
Another pearl of wisdom favoured by Mhairi, who also has control of the office Spotify account.
“There are only two certainties in life, death and taxes.”
Another dose of realism that Ria’s dad has drummed into her. Perhaps he needs to listen to some of Mhairi’s gangster rap?
The last word comes from Creative Director Ricky’s spiritual guru:
We hope you've enjoyed some of the wisdom we've shared with you here and that it's even proved useful. We'd love to share more of our thinking with you though, in the form of our award-winning marketing expertise. To find out how we can help your business or organisation, please drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org - we'll put the kettle on (don't worry, we've got a coffee machine too).