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Ogilvy on Advertising Paperback – March 12, 1985

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

A candid and indispensable primer on all aspects of advertising from the man Time has called "the most sought after wizard in the business". 223 photos.

About the Author

In 1948, David Ogilvy founded the agency that would become Ogilvy & Mather. Starting with no clients and a staff of two, he built his company into one of the eight largest advertising networks in the world. He wrote three books about the basic principles of modern advertising: Confessions of an Advertising Man, Blood, Brains & Beer and Ogilvy on Advertising. Sadly, he died in 1999. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1st Vintage Books ed edition (March 12, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039472903X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394729039
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.6 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (221 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

134 of 141 people found the following review helpful By Just Bill on January 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
If you're in the profession of advertising, and this book isn't on your bookshelf, dog-eared, stained and well-worn, you've been ripping off your clients.
The entire premise of Ogilvy on Advertising boils down to one simple statement (coined by Claude Hopkins nearly 80 years ago in his book Scientific Advertising): "Advertising is salesmanship."
Sadly, the advertising world has drifted from that solid mooring. And now those who profess it are considered anachronistic at best. And kooky at worst.
Ogilvy, a staunch admirer of Hopkins, firmly embraced that tenet -- and it propelled him and his agency (Ogilvy and Mather) to the Mount Olympus of the advertising world. Most importantly, it made his clients rich beyond the dreams of avarice.
Ogilvy's writing is captivating. His work, legendary. His ideas, timeless. The information in this book is easily work 10 times the cover price.
I've been in the profession of advertising for nearly 15 years. I'm also an adjunct professor at a nearby university. I wholeheartedly recommend Ogilvy On Advertising to my students. I firmly embrace its principles in my profession.
And I, without hesitation, urge you to read it as well.
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70 of 73 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is one of those rare books everyone ought to have to read. Like "The Elements of Style," "Writing That Works, and "Profiles in Courage." I had read this book back in 1990 when I was out of work, looking for a job in advertising. The advertising job never happened for me and I moved on to other things.
I did not realize, until I recently picked up a copy to re-read, how much it had influenced me the first time I read it. Half of the way I conduct myself at work and a lot of my thought processes and strategy is still influenced by what is in this book. I make over 6 times what I made back in 1991. I realize now I have Mr. Ogilvy to thank for a great deal of that.
Read this book. At least once.
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68 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Michael Gebert on April 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
Want to understand how to be a copywriter or an art director? You need two books, and then you need to start making ads. Ogilvy's is one of them. Although it's now 20 years old, the examples may seem out of date and some of his imperial pronoucements ("No reverse type") may seem fusty, don't be fooled. You will learn all you need to know about the classical art of making smart ads that make a strong, memorable point here. You will gain a grounding in the history and development of the profession which will serve you well. Then, when you've finished it, read "Hey Whipple, Squeeze This" by Luke Sullivan to bring your perspective a little more up to date (always important in trend-crazed ad agencies). But don't kid yourself that Ogilvy won't be the foundation of your work.
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47 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Winter Wright on January 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
David Ogilvy sums up his years of experience as an advertising legend in a dozen concise and amply illustrated chapters. Critics might be inclined to attack his opinions as dogmatic, and some of the ads he uses as examples appear corny and outdated today. On the other hand, so do the clothes and hairstyles in old movies, but it doesn't make them any less valuable as historical artifacts, or any less interesting.
As for dogmatism, it's actually refreshing to get an unambiguous read on a profession that is by nature nebulous, and if anyone has a right to an opinion, he's the man.
The chapter on print advertising contains enough densely packed information to allow an intelligent novice to design and write a creditable ad, and the book concludes with a series of short profiles of advertising pioneers such as Leo Burnett that are highly engrossing.
Ogilvy's writing style is exemplary for anyone in the communications field: terse, forceful, devoid of hot air. Anyone interested in advertising, marketing, or public relations---or in David Ogilvy as a figure in his own right---will enjoy this classic.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By ConsultantsMind on March 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
As many reviewers have mentioned, this book is a classic. Ogilvy's wisdom is only matched by his wit. Some takeaways:
1) "The wrong advertising can actually reduce the sales of a product" (pg 9)
2) "If you are lucky enough to write a good advertisement, repeat it until it stops selling." (pg 19)
3) "If it does not sell, it is not creative." (pg 24)
4) Hire "gentlemen with brains." (pg 48)
5) Communicate verbally. Attend the right meetings. Remember the French saying, "He who is absent is always wrong." (pg 56)
6) "Any fool can write bad advertising, but it takes a genius to keep his hands off a good one." (pg 67)
7) People read headlines 5 times as often as they read the body. People remember ads with news 22% more than ads without news. (pg 71)
8) Ads in four colors cost 50% more, but are 100% more memorable. (pg 79)
9) In TV ads, use the name it the first 10 seconds. Show the package.
10) Learn from P&G: They are disciplined. They only enter categories they think will grow. They have multiple brands that compete against each other. They invest heavily to launch a brand. They never change a successful strategy. 60% of the ads show a demonstration. They communciate the name of the products repeatedly. The names fo the products are easy and simple. They don't use celebrities. (pg 155)
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