Howard Luck Gossage was called "The Socrates of San Francisco." He owned an advertising agency, but treated advertising as radioactive waste. While most ad men of his day (the 50's and 60's) catered to their clients whims, Gossage forcefully dug his heels in the sand, steadfastly demanding advertising that actually created results.
David Ogilvy called him "Advertising's most articulate rebel." Stan Freberg (one of my own all-time heroes) called him his best friend.
He was a quotable dream:
"The real fact of the matter is that nobody reads ads. People read what interests them, and sometimes it's an ad."
To ask consumers how they like ads is like asking a galley slave what he thinks of his job calesthenics-wise."
"We're not sure who invented water, but we're pretty sure it wasn't a fish."
"To explain responsibility to advertising men is like trying to convince an eight-year-old that sexual intercourse is more fun than a chocolate ice cream cone."
I could go on, but clearly Gossage wasn't a company man. He created advertising/marketing campaigns brilliant in their simplicity and obvious in their results. I love the full page ad he did for the Fina Oil and Chemical Company that simply said:
IF YOU'RE DRIVING
DOWN THE ROAD AND YOU
SEE A FINA STATION AND
IT'S ON YOUR SIDE SO YOU
DON'T HAVE TO MAKE A
U-TURN THROUGH TRAFFIC
AND THERE AREN'T
SIX CARS WAITING AND YOU
NEED GAS OR SOMETHING**
PLEASE STOP IN***
(If you want to know what the asterisks mean, the full ad is on Page 50.)
The Book of Gossage is a compilation of Gossage's writings and musings about advertising and is simply brilliant. It also includes additional articles and commentary about Gossage from such luminaries as Stan Freberg (did I mention he is one of my heroes?), Jeff Goodby, Jay Conrad Levinson, and Tom Wolfe.
My own copy of The Book of Gossage is dog-eared, and highlighted throughout, so you can't have it. But I would highly recommend you get a copy of your own. If you are serious about advertising/marketing, this book will seriously ramp up your knowledge.