"Nobody reads advertising. People read what interests them; and sometimes it's an ad."

Written by Cole Schafer

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Howard Luck Gossage is the greatest advertising man you’ve never heard of.

Back when Madison Avenue in New York City was blowing up faster than a straw house in a forest fire, Gossage, iconically known as “The Socrates of San Francisco” offered a fresh perspective on advertising –– one that focused on conviction, an unwavering responsibility to the customer and “quality” over “quantity”.

He was one hell of a writer, a writer that rivaled the likes of David Ogilvy.

And, he wrote with just a splendid amount of sayings and punchlines that were equal parts clever and grin-invoking as they were "insightful.

One of my favorite Gossage-isms is…

“Nobody reads advertising. People read what interests them; and sometimes it’s an ad.”

In Stranger Than Fiction, my weekly newsletter that uncovers bat-shit crazy marketing ideas that have made brands some serious dough, this seems to be a reoccurring theme in what’s working…

It has less to do with advertising and more to do with being interesting, entertaining and insightful to one’s customers.

Gossage elaborates on this point…

“… when you say something interesting you can’t say it all that often, and this means that you will just have to spend less money on your advertising, hard though it may be. It’s a tough thing to decide to stop spending money when you’ve been flinging it around like a drunken account executive all these years.”

Gossage and his agency were known (and applauded by clients) for keeping budgets low and doing really really interesting advertising that turned heads.

Perhaps, it was because he was more concerned with creating something interesting rather than creating advertising.

But, I digress.

By Cole Schafer.