19 Pearls of Wisdom From the Legendary David Ogilvy

With the passage of time advertising has emerged as a behemoth. It doesn’t matter which industry you work in, advertising is mushrooming like never before. Thanks to a genius who understood our basic needs and addressed them in the best possible manner.

Let’s take a quick glance of some pearls of wisdom from father of advertising, the legendary, David Ogilvy.

1. Research suggests that if you set the copy in black type on a white background, more people will read it than if you set it in white type on a black background.

2. Study the product you are going to advertise. The more you know about it, the more likely you are to come up with a big idea for selling it.

3. Find out what kind of advertising your competitors have been doing for similar products, and with what success. This will give you your bearings.

4. Research among consumers. Find out how they think about your kind of product, what language they use when they discuss the subject, what attributes are important to them, and what promise would be most likely to make them buy your brand.

5. If you and your competitors all make excellent products, don’t try to imply that your product is better. Just say what’s good about your product – and do a clearer, more honest, more informative job of saying it.

6. If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative.

7. In your day-to-day dealings with clients and colleagues, fight for the kings, queens and bishops, but throw away the pawns.

8. Don’t discuss your clients’ business in public places. Keep their secrets under lock and key. A reputation for leaking can ruin you.

9. If you appear in your own commercials, you will be recognized wherever you go and thus become an easier target for kidnappers. More serious, you may not say your lines as well as a professional announcer.

10. Whatever you do, for goodness sake, don’t change the name of your corporation to initials.

11. People don’t go half the way round the world to see things they can equally well see at home.

12. Make sure that what you promise is important to your customer. It can be a benefit, news, recognizing a problem, testimonial, helpful information or a combination of them. Make your promise specific. Instead of generalities, use percentages, time elapsed, dollars saved.

13. Captions should appear under all your photographs. Twice as many people read them as read body copy. And use your captions to sell. The best captions are mini-advertisements in themselves.

14. Good photographs of your product cost more than bad ones, but they also sell more.

15. Advertising which promises no benefit to the consumer does not sell.

16. Sometimes you will find that the promise which wins your test is already being used by one of your competitors. Poor you.

17. Nobody has been able to demonstrate a relationship between recall and sales.

18. I admit that research is often misused by agencies and their clients. They have a way of using it to prove they are right. They use research as a drunkard uses a lamppost – not for illumination but for support.

19. It is the mark of a brave man to admit defeat, cut his loss, and move on.

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