Without This One Thing… Your Ad will Fail: One Big Idea from “Oglivy On Advertising” by David Ogilvy

October 12, 2019

So, you want to know what the MOST IMPORTANT thing in an advertisement is, huh? Well then…

Listen long enough to any successful modern-day marketing thought-leader and it is INEVITABLE they will give props to the late David Ogilvy, AKA “The Father of Advertising.”

Ogilvy one of those few anointed wizards of advertising that, since starting his ad agency in 1948 (still in business today and in 83 countries) and writing his books (now eternal scripture for his followers), has influenced almost everyone involved in the advertising process, whether they know it or not.

Let’s cut to the gravy–

Time to confess… Ogilvy made it easy for me to be LAZY on this one…

My biggest takeaway from this book wasn’t from any skillful insight on my part, but because he told me, the reader, without any ambiguity, what I should take away.

And that is…

Promise A BEnefit to Your Customer!!!

From the book:

  • Advertising which promises no benefit to the consumer does not sell, yet the majority of campaigns contain no promise whatever. (That is the most important sentence in this book. Read it again.)

Now, when I say that everyone loves him, there’s a caveat:

He is mostly revered by the more entrepreneurial, results-driven marketers than he is by the brand-building, big pocketed corporate marketers…

And that is because he had an almost inappropriate level of affection for 2 things:

  1. Research
  2. Direct-Response Advertising

David knew that it wasn’t enough to draw up a logo, write a catchy song, and then blow 50 million dollars on a gluttonous campaign to assault the American people with, what was at the time, the 1950s and 60s equivalent of spam.

He knew that:

  1. Careful product and market research leads to valuable insights (some discipline required)
  2. Those insights allow you to craft a promise that will resonate with the client/customer (some cajones required)
  3. That you should guide the customer on how to make a purchase (knowledge of direct-response advertising required)

There were plenty of agencies back in the “mad men” days (and today) ready to spend 10 years and millions of dollars to create the abstract and elusive “brand awareness” while they prepare their tuxedos for the advertisement award ceremonies.

David wasn’t concerned with that stuff. He was focused on the main thing: Making Money.

So, next time you write to your future client, there are 3 steps:

  • Be bold
  • Make a promise
  • Collect mulah

Get the book here: https://www.amazon.com/Ogilvy-Advertising-David/dp/039472903X/

© 2020 – Michael J. McGovern