I've been using this quote for probably 10 years, because it's an excellent way to reframe our conversations about advertising today. We like to think that our "advertising everywhere" world is a new phenomenon, but it really isn't. In fact, it's a great example of what I say often -- "Those that don't know history are destined to think everything is new."
If you don't know who Samuel Johnson is (and many people don't!), he was an 18th century writer and I've tracked this quote to about 1751. So, 260 years ago, he was complaining that there were too many ads in the world and that brands were using grand claims to get people to pay attention to them.
So how do you get people to pay attention? What would Samuel Johnson say about your claims today? Breaking through the clutter today is the same as it was back then. You still need to create compelling, authentic and relevant brand experiences that engage your audience.