5 Famous Ad Men

By Caitlin Cunningham


Prior to the 1960’s Creative Revolution in Advertising, print and television advertisements were generally stagnant, boring, and explanatory. Print solely consisted of a feature of the product and long blocks of text explaining its offering. But then the Ad Men of Madison Avenue started thinking about advertising in a different way, and they discovered that it was much more persuasive to capture the audience’s attention by utilizing a unique approach.

Bill Bernbach

Bernbach’s legacy contributes to probably the most well known original stride in executing the Creative Revolution. He led the team into conjuring the “Think Small” campaign for Volkswagen. This campaign was original because it utilized white space, which shifted the reader’s focus to the vehicle immediately. The campaign was so successful that it not only boosted sales, but built lifetime brand loyalty.

“Let us prove to the world that good taste, good art, and good writing can be good selling.”


Leo Burnett

Burnett utilized dramatic realism and the soft sell approach in his campaigns. He believed in the inherent drama of the product offering and wanted to convey the emotional connection the intended audience would have with it. Some notable creations include the Jolly Green Giant, Tony the Tiger, and Pillsbury Doughboy.

“When you reach for the stars you may not quite get one, but you won’t come up with a handful of mud either.”


David Ogilvy

Ogilvy’s main contribution was his emphasis on the “big idea” of each creative execution. This means that showing the product simply wouldn’t work anymore. The creative needed to contain a “wow” factor. His philosophy followed the basic principles of creative brilliance, research, measurable results and professional discipline. His most famous campaign was for Rolls-Royce, which featured the tagline that read, “At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock.”

“In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you create.”


George Lois

In 1968, Lois obtained Braniff International Airways as a client. With this new account, he conjured the revolutionary “When You Got It, Flaunt It” Campaign for the airline that increased business about 80% as a result of the new advertising. Like Ogilvy, Lois also believed in the “big idea.”

“If you do something and you get it, the rest of the world will get it too. Trust your own instincts, your own intellect, and your own sense of humor.”