Bill Bernbach

“I look for a deep insight into human behaviour”

Bill was one of the founders of Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB) in 1949. They had a point of view different to all the other agencies—that good taste, good art and good writing can be good selling.

Credited with being the first to combine copywriters and art directors into teams, his legacy is still felt in the office of every agency today.

He argued that the communicator is concerned with not just what he puts into his writing, but what people get out of it.

Most people read something and come out with a vague misty idea of what they have read. The reader reads with his ego, emotions, compulsions, urges and plots with his brain to rationalise a judgement.

The human being is created by nature. Certain instincts dominate. You don’t persuade people through the intellect. You persuade them through passion.

Creative people can be found anywhere. All he wanted was talent, but talent cannot be taught.

Great experience may be a handicap. If you do things the way they have always been done, you won’t be very effective for creating new things.

The essence of impact is saying something the way it has never been said before.

A freshness in his putting together or words and concepts.

Academic background may help, but it’s not important in creative people. You don’t teach art or persuasion, all you can teach is knowledge. But knowledge already exists, and is the past. Knowledge must be taking into the future, by an idea.

You need to combine discipline with creativity. Managers of creatives must be creatives themselves, otherwise the creative will never respect or follow them (my edit: this is true of my own experience).

He was a firm believer in research in order to find out what to say, but it’s up to you find out how to say it in a fresh way.

When everybody says the same thing, you don’t stand out. The impact is reduced. Find a different way to stand out.

Research can make you so easily superficial about the results you get. Research doesn’t get you an idea. But a good creative demands good research, so that their efforts are not wasted.

When a person writes what they feel, their tone gets into that ad.

So you better believe in it.

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