Let us march!


My favourite quote from Ogilvy On Advertising:

“When Aeshines spoke, they said, ‘How well he speaks’.  When Demosthenes spoke, they said, ‘Let us march!'”

Unfortunately, when the typical B2B copywriter speaks, they say, ‘I wonder what’s for lunch?’. Without doubt, 90% of B2B copywriting is bland and ignorable.  Of the other 10%, a good chunk fails in the other direction: it says, ‘Look at me, aren’t I a clever writer?’.

The only copywriting worth its fee is copywriting that makes people march (after all, who ever heard of Aeshines?).


Looks like this might have an earlier provenance

From WikiQuotes:
Do you remember that in classical times when Cicero had finished speaking, the people said, “How well he spoke” but when Demosthenes had finished speaking, they said, “Let us march.”

Adlai Stevenson, introducing John F. Kennedy in 1960, as quoted in Adlai Stevenson and The World: The Life of Adlai E. Stevenson‎ (1977) by John Bartlow Martin, p. 549

    Thanks Allan. I imagine they’re both quoting someone else! We’ll get to the source… (probably Demosthenes).

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