"Nothing kills a bad product faster/quicker than good advertising” is a popular advertising adage. The adage means that good advertising makes people aware of a product, but if the product isn’t any good, then it will be rejected by consumers.
“Great advertising can make a bad product fail faster; it gets more people to know it’s bad” was said by Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB) advertising agency co-founder William (Bill) Bernbach (1911-1982) in a 1965 interview with the Wall Street Journal.
Wikipedia: William Bernbach
William (Bill) Bernbach (August 13, 1911, New York City - October 2, 1982, New York City) was an American advertising creative director. He was one of the three founders in 1949 of the international advertising agency Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB). He directed many of the firm’s breakthrough ad campaigns and had a lasting impact on the creative team structures now commonly used by ad agencies.
12 August 1965, Wall Street Journal, “Ad Alley Upstart: Doyle Dane Bernbach Rises by Ignoring Many Madison Avenue Rules” by A. Kent MacDougall:
Imagination can have its penalties, the client, if not for the agency, Mr. Bernbach admits. “Great advertising can make a bad product fail faster; it gets more people to know it’s bad,” he says.
Current Biography Yearbook
New York, NY: H.W. Wilson Company
Bernbach will not handle a product that cannot live up to its advertising. “Nothing makes a bad product fail faster than a great advertising campaign,” he told Mel Gussow in the New York Herald Tribune interview.
The New Advertising:
The great campaigns from Avis to Volkswagen
By Robert Glatzer
New York, NY: Citadel Press
“And anyway, great advertising just makes a bad product fail faster.” Bernbach proved this to himself in the summer of 1967, when he did an excellent campaign for a low-carbohydrate beer called Gablinger’s, which got hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers to try a can of it. Unfortunately, for most of them one can was more than enough ...
The New Style in Election Campaigns
By Robert Agranoff
Boston, MA: Holbrook Press
Humphrey’s Kopelman concurs with a favorite quote of his agency’s president, William Bernbach: ‘Nothing will make a bad product fail faster than good advertising’—it is the same thing in political advertising.
Google News Archive
23 November 1981, St. Petersburg (FL) Indepedent, “How do you recognize a phony ad?” by Milton Rockmore, pg. 15A, col. 1:
JOHN E. O’TOOLE, chairman, Foote, Cone & Belding Communications Inc., New York, N.Y.—Author: The Trouble With Advertising (Chelsea House)—Has the product or company been advertised for a time? The adage that nothing kills a bad product faster than good advertising is still true. It’s not easy for national advertising to be phony since it passes through many built-in screenings.
Handbook of Modern Marketing (2nd edition)
By Victor P. Buell
New York, NY: McGraw-Hill
It is an equally well accepted precept that nothing kills a bad product faster than good advertising.
Google News Archive
27 March 1988, The Age (Melbourne, Australia), “Corporate advertising: politics and policies,” Green Guide 7, col. 4:
But he claims that advertising cannot change a company’s image unless the company itself has made a change for the better. “If the advertising isn’t true, then you lose people’s trust entirely. Nothing kills a bad product quicker than good advertising.”
Excellence in Advertising (2nd edition)
By Leslie Butterfield
New York, NY: Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann
Without a good product it is impossible to create a successful brand — it was Bill Bernbach, I think, who said something like ‘nothing kills a bad product faster than good advertising’ — but, given the product, advertising can best provide the awareness, the breakthrough, the emotional resonance and the differentiation which will endure and without which even the best product does not leave the factory in any real volume.
11 October 2002, Precision Marketing, “Are colleges in touch with the ‘real world’?”:
John Treacy, art director at Archibald Ingall Stretton, agrees: “Nothing kills a bad product quicker than good advertising.”
Interview: Bob Garfield
posted nov. 9, 2004
It’s [an axiom] in the marketing business that nothing kills a bad product better than good advertising. Because the advertising’s clever, it makes the product look fabulous, people try it, they find out it doesn’t help them, it doesn’t do what it was advertised to do, it doesn’t make their life simpler. For whatever reason, they don’t like it, and these customers never come back. Nothing kills a bad product better than good advertising.
Advertising and Promotion:
By Chris Hackley
Advertising man Bill Bernbach’s reputed comment that ‘Nothing kills a bad product faster than good advertising’ illustrates well the pitfalls of taking a compartmentalized view of marketing activities.
New York (NY) Times
Q. and A. With Stuart Elliott
Published: February 28, 2011
This is in reference to your report last week on a new campaign for Southern Comfort. Clever, but the drink still tastes terrible.
Wasn’t it Bill Bernbach who said “Good advertising can’t overcome a bad product”?
A: (Stuart Elliott)
Indeed, dear reader, it was Mr. Bernbach — who founded Doyle Dane Bernbach with Ned Doyle and Maxwell Dane — who expressed that belief. The quotation is usually rendered this way: “A great ad campaign will make a bad product fail faster. It will get more people to know it’s bad.”
Bill Bernbach Said #36
Number 36 in our Bernbach series…
“A great ad campaign will make a bad product fail faster. It will get more people to know it’s bad.”
Mark Hill said…
Nothing kills a bad product faster than good advertising.
21 July 2011 01:43
New York City • Work/Businesses • (1) Comments • Sunday, May 20, 2012 • Permalink
Advertising has indeed great power to influence customers and buyers. I strongly agree that good advertising could creates a good marketing.Though good advertisings sometimes are costly but it would surely help in reaching the goal of a certain business.