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Ogilvy on Advertising Paperback – March 12, 1985
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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
David Ogilvy (1911–1999) was a business executive who founded the advertising, marketing, and PR agency Ogilvy & Mather in 1948. Throughout his illustrious career, the mogul Time magazine called “the most sought-after wizard in the business” shared his knowledge of the industry in the books Ogilvy on Advertising and the bestselling Confessions of an Advertising Man.
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Ogilvy made his name on print and TV, so most of the anecdotes are along those lines. It is also amusing at times to see the changing social norms that make some of the tropes and hooks feel outdated.
Good read as a part of a comprehensive look at advertising but don't think this is the only thing that must be read, or that it should be taken as gospel.
If you're new to the business, interested in the business, or even an old ad dog running out of tricks, you need to own this book. The best part about this book has got to be the visual references of some of the most successful ad campaigns since the dawn of advertising. If you don't take away some new ideas, you need to read it again.
Some of the techniques might be slightly outdated, but you shouldn't rely too heavily on one book for inspiration and information anyway. Also check out
Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Advertising (Adweek Series)
My Life in Advertising and Scientific Advertising (Advertising Age Classics Library)
Outrageous Advertising That's Outrageously Successful: Created for the 99% of Small Business Owners Who are Dissatisfied with the Results They Get From Their Current Advertising (Hardcover)
Tested Advertising Methods (Prentice Hall Business Classics)
Permission Marketing : Turning Strangers Into Friends And Friends Into Customers
Those will get you started.
"It is fashionable to talk about changing man. A communicator must be concerned with unchanging man ... The creative man with an insight into human nature, with the artistry to touch and move people will succeed. Without them he will fail."
Ogilvy had insight in spades, practical experience, common sense, a passion for research as well as creativity, and above all, a relentless focus on selling. Pick any few paragraphs at random and all those qualities will shine through. Among the many ideas I found really helpful--
1. Branding means giving your product personality. (For example, the man in the Hathaway shirt wore an eyepatch.)
2. Facts sell better than hype.
3. The principles of direct response apply to all forms of advertising.
4. Creativity is worthless unless it sells.
5. Copywriting is the heart of advertising.
6. Use the brand name in your headline. Otherwise 80% of readers may never see it.
7. Long copy sells.
8. Analogies, big words, and naming the competitor confuse people.
9. Pricing cannot be determined scientifically.
10. Excellent graphic design is simple graphic design.
11. Corporate advertising is worthwhile.
12. Always include a promise in your headline.
13. The era of the blockbuster brand is ending. (Ogivly detected the "Long Tail" 20 years before most of us!)
14. According to Ogivly, "...advertising is no more and no less than a reasonably efficient way to sell."
But this summary doesn't do the book justice. He makes solid points nonstop. Not surprising for a master copywriter and former door-to-door salesman, he writes in plain English. He offers "big picture" reflections on the advertising industry, including an impassioned defense of advertising against charges of hucksterism. He offers detailed tips that are just as important, mainly on print advertising, direct response, and dealing with clients.
Educational, authoritative, fun to read. A+