A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from October 13, 2016
“A principle isn’t a principle until it costs you money”

William “Bill” Bernbach (1911-1982), one of the founders of the advertising agency Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB), created many legendary ad campaigns. However, after the U.S. Surgeon General issued a warning about cigarette smoking in 1964, he wouldn’t do cigarette advertising. This principled stand cost DDB money, but Bernbach told the Los Angeles (CA) Times in January 1971:

“It was a matter of principle and it cost us money—cigaret advertising is the most profitable kind you can have. But I don’t feel a principle is a principle until it costs you money.”

“More and more I have come to the conclusion that a principle isn’t a principle until it costs you money” is a popular form of Bernbach’s quotation.


Wikipedia: William Bernbach
William “Bill” Bernbach (August 13, 1911 – October 2, 1982) 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.

DDB—Bill Bernbach Said
“More and more I have come to the conclusion that a principle isn’t a principle until it costs you money.”

11 January 1971, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Bernbach’s Hard Sell Carries Light Touch,” pt. 3, pg. 10, col. 1:
Doyle Dane has not handled a cigaret account since the Surgeon General’s report attacking smoking came out in 1964.

“We were never on a crusade,” (Bill—ed.) Bernbach said, “we just didn’t want to be responsible. It was a matter of principle and it cost us money—cigaret advertising is the most profitable kind you can have. But I don’t feel a principle is a principle until it costs you money.”

12 April 1992, The Sunday Age (Melbourne, Australia), “Knowing our onions helps to avoid tripe” by John Bevins, pg. 17, col. 6:
Mr Bill Bernbach, a founder of Doyle Dane Bernbach and the man who revolutionised advertising, knew the value of truth. he also knew its cost. He said: “A principle is not a principle until it costs you money.”

The Huffington Post
A Principle Isn’t a Principle Until it Costs You Something
10/04/2011 11:57 am ET | Updated Dec 04, 2011
Mark A. O’Brien
President of North America for DDB Worldwide
(...)
Our founder, Bill Bernbach is famous for saying “A principle isn’t a principle until it costs you something.”

Google Books
Paid Attention:
Innovative Advertising for a Digital World

By Faris Yakob
Philadelphia, PA: Kogan Page
2015
Pg. 164:
Bill Bernbach, the brightest man ever to work in our industry, famously said ‘a principle isn’t a principle until it costs you money’. Most agency chiefs are more like Groucho Marx who said ‘These are my principles. If you don’t like them, I have others.”

HubSpot
May 25, 2016 // 7:00 AM
23 Quotes From Bill Bernbach on Advertising & Creativity
Written by Jami Oetting | @jamioetting
(...)
2) “More and more I have come to the conclusion that a principle isn’t a principle until it costs you money.”

Twitter
Michael Gass
‏@michaelgass
“More and more I have come to the conclusion that a principle isn’t a principle until it costs you money.” Bill Bernbach
11:52 AM - 21 Jun 2016

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Thursday, October 13, 2016 • Permalink