I realized that the growth of
television, along with all the existing media, would result in
consumers being bombarded with more messages than they could
absorb. So the advertiser would have to deliver his message in a
different way -- memorably and artfully -- if he was going to be
"chosen" by the consumer.
LLOYD: What was wrong with the old scientific
BERNBACH: I warn you against believing that
advertising is a science. Artistry is what counts. The business is
filled with great technicians, and unfortunately they talk the best
game ... but there's one little problem. Advertising happens to be
an art, not a science.
LLOYD: Sounds blasphemous.
BERNBACH: The more you research, the more you
play it safe, and the more you waste money. Research inevitably
leads to conformity.
LLOYD: At least you won't offend anyone.
BERNBACH: (Laughing) Eighty-five percent of all
ads don't even get looked at. Think of it! You and I are the most
extravagant people in the world. Who else is spending billions of
dollars and getting absolutely nothing in return? We were worried
about whether or not the American public loves us. They don't even
hate us. They just ignore us.
LLOYD: So how do you get into that desirable
BERNBACH: The only difference is an intangible
thing that businessmen are so suspicious of , this thing called
artistry. ... Try riding the bus ... and you just watch the people
with Life magazine flipping though the pages at $60,000 a page, and
not stopping and looking. The only thing that can stop them is this
thing called artistry that says, "Stop, look, this is
LLOYD: Shouldn't market research improve those
BERNBACH: Research can be dangerous. It should
give you facts and not make judgments for you. ... We are too busy
measuring public opinion that we forget we can mold it.
LLOYD: Advertisers still need to judge their
ideas against something tangible.
BERNBACH: I have found, by and large -- I know
this is heresy -- the better the marketing man, the poorer the
judge of an ad. That's because he wants to be sure of everything,
and you can't be sure of everything.
LLOYD: Doesn't it seem logical to test your
BERNBACH: (Grinning.) I'm beginning to believe,
incidentally, that logic is one of the great obstacles to
LLOYD: How do you suggest advertisers make
their "guesses" accurate?
BERNBACH: Know his product inside and out. Your
cleverness must stem from knowledge of the product. ... It's hard
to write well about something you know little about.
LLOYD: Ha! That's research. Why can't you admit
advertising is a science?
BERNBACH: (Annoyed.) The greatest advances in
the history of science came from scientists' intuition. Listen to
one of the greatest scientific minds talking on the subject of
physicists. "The supreme task of the physicist is to arrive at
those universal elementary laws from which the cosmos can be built
up by pure deduction. There is no logical path to these laws. Only
intuition can reach them." The scientist's name was Albert
Einstein, the greatest scientist of them all!