Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy

One of the most detailed wok from Ogilvy

When I write an ads, i want you to find it so interesting that you BUY the product.

I hate rules, all I do is repeat on how consumer react on a different stimuli.

Wrong advertising can reduce sales of a product. You don’t have a chanace of producing successful advertising unless you start doing your homework, include

  1. Study the product
  2. Study what your competition are doing and with what success
  3. Find out what they think, what language they use, what attribution important and what promise would be likely to buy your brand.

Positioning is what the product does , who it is ifor.

Image – means personalities, for product you mean, if your ads look cheap and shady, it will rub off. People don’t know real taste, they are tasting images.

Make the product the hero ! Don’t try to imply your product is better, just say what’s good about your product, do a clean , more honest, more informative job to say it. Sales will swing to marketer who create confidence is positively good.

A great leaders exude self confidence. They are never petty, they are never buck-passers. They pick themselves up after defeat.

Easier way to get new client is to do good advertising. During meeting, try to mix everyone up. Always tell your prospective client your weakness. The day after new business presentation, send the prospect a 3 pages letter summary why he should pick you.

Any fool can write a bad advertisement, but it take a genius to keep his hand off one.

Few things to consider for print ads


  • 5 times more people read the headlines than read the body
  • Promise reader the benefits
  • contain news- ads with news recalled by 22% more
  • include brand name in your headline
  • for product target small group – put a word to flag them down
  • Long headlines sell more
  • Specific work better than generalization
  • In local news – always include the city name

15 ways of illustration :

  1. Subject – remarkable idea
  2. Arouse reader’s curiosity- Stay appeal
  3. Make your package the subject of your illustration
  4. Illustrate end result using your product – before / after
  5. Photograph pull more than drawing
  6. Use of character know to people
  7. Keep it as simple as possible, with focus of interest only
  8. Don’t show enlarged human face
  9. Historical subject bore majority
  10. Do not assume that subject interest you will interest to customer
  11. Photograph interest reader :babies, animal, sex
  12. People attract to same sex in advertisement
  13. Ads in color are more memorable
  14. Product in cooking – attract reader more than in finished dishes

Illustration of ad are often misunderstood

Average reader of body in magazine is only 5%, so the headline is really important.

Body copy – Write to one human being, not a big group

You cannot bore people buy your product, you can only interest them buying it. Don’t write an essay, write your copy in form of a story. Also avoid analogies, stay away from superlative, brag and boosting make no one believe you.

Include testimonial in your copy, every type of advertiser has the same problem – how to get and write testimonial.

Testimonial from celebrities, people remember him but not the product, but testimonial from expert help.

Shall we write long copy or short copy ? Long copy actually sell more. First paragraph should be a grabber.

How to become a good copy-writer ? You just will be until you get a better answer, you copy.

Headlines below illustration read by 10% more than the average. Capital letter are also hard to read. Don’t make full stop in headlines. People accustomed to read newspaper 40 character wide. White on background is harder to read. Always use 11 point letter.

10 points to make your TV commercial above average :

  1. Humor – Humor can sell
  2. Slice of life – play-let, one convinced other the product is good.
  3. Testimonial : User testify its virtues, when they don’t know its filmed, the more its amateurish, the more credible.
  4. Demonstration  – How well your product perform ? Commercial that name competing brand are less believable and more confusing.
  5. Problem / solution : Show the viewer a problem, the show has to solve it
  6. Talking heads : A pitchman explaining the virtue of products
  7. Characters – Living symbol of the product
  8. Reason Why – Give viewer a rational reason why they should buy your product
  9. News – Ads contain news- product like human being, attract more attention when they first born.
  10. Emotion – You must be objective about the benefit of your product, consumer need a rational excuse to justify the emotional decision.

Below average ads :

  1. Testimonial by celebrities – viewers has way to remember celebrity while forgetting the product
  2. Cartoon sell thing to children, but now grown up
  3. Musical vignettes

16 tips on a TV commercial :

  1. Brand identification – There are 2 ways to regrister brand name, first we can use the brand name for the first 10 seconds, or play games with the name.
  2.  Show the package – Show package at the end
  3. Food in motion – food in motion look more appetizing
  4. Close up – close you get on the candy, more people mouth watering
  5. Open with fire – grab attention in first frame with visual suprise
  6. When you have nothing to say, sing it. Music in background does no harm or good
  7. Sound effect – Sausage sizzling in a pan, can make a positive effect
  8. Voice over – Its more difficult to hold audience
  9. Supers – Setting it in type and super in passing over video
  10. Avoid visual banality – Show something she never seen before
  11. Change of scene – Commercial with a plateau of shot scene are below average in changing brand preference
  12. A visual device repeated one long period of time
  13. Show the product in use – it pay to show product being used, and end result of using it
  14. Everything is possible on TV
  15. Mis- Comprehensions – make them crystal clear
  16. TV cost $4 to produce, but commercial cost $2000 a second. Cut actor out of story board and remember the money spent is not equal to proof that it sell.

People who know a company well over 5 times more have a favorable opinion on it. The most sensible way to budget is analyse the task. How much will it cost to achieve specific goal among specific audience.

Don’t change the name of your Company for initials. Present your case in terms of reader’s interest. People dream about visiting foreign countries, the job of your advertising is to convert their dreams into action.

For B2B advertising :

An ads, however efficient, can seldom close a sale. Its function to pave the way for salesman :

  1. Testimonial from expert in reputable company work well
  2.   Demonistration
  3. News work well
  4. Information that help your reader in his job
  5. Layout simple – like editorial
  6. Headline – Promise a benefit, deliver a news, offer a service, tell a significant story, recognize problem, quote a satisfied customer.
  7. Captions – For all your photograph

The most successful commercial product differentiate in 2 ways – either its low cost or the best reputation for quality / service.

Always close your body copy with your offer, address and phone number

Analyze the inquiries

  1. Survey a sample of inquiries
  2. Question the sale people who follow up the inquiries
  3. Relate inquiries the media produced them

For Direct mail, few things to test :

  1. Pricing
  2. Positioning
  3. Terms of payment
  4. Promises
  5. Format

Cross head give reader to breathe, skimmer know what the story is about.

Testimonial – If one work well, use two.

There are 4 ways to push for actions

  1. Limited edition
  2. Limited supply
  3. Last time this price
  4. Special price for promptness

Tidy, well organized layout always increase return. A commercial less than 2 minutes never produce sales, the short one sometime is  more irritating.

Allow 20seconds to give info on how to order.

Success of P&G ads :

  1. Disciplined – always plan thoroughly, minimize risk, stick to proven principle
  2. Never enter small categories unless it expected to growh
  3. Enter more than 1 brand ad allow them to compete
  4. Market research to identify consumer need
  5. Way of creating product which are superior to competition
  6. Patient
  7. 60% of commercial use demonstration
  8. Brand name are short and simple, while they appeared first 10seconds and average 3 times
  9. Users of their product desire emotional benefit
  10. Slice of life, testimonial and talking heads

Advertising which promise no benefit to customer does not sell, yet majority of campaign contain no promises. Selection of promises, just show customer a number of promise, tell her each promises for a new product. Try to find a promises not only promises, but unique. Concentrate your brain , time and advertising on your success. Always back your winner and get rid of the losers. Sales are a function of product – the value and advertising.

Promotions cannot produce more than a temporary spike in sales curve. Task of advertising not one of it but reinforcement and assure.

3 Lessons from Leo burnett

  1. There is an drama in every product, our number 1 job is to dig for it
  2. When you reach for the story, you may not get one, but you wont give up either
  3. Step yourself into your subject, work like hell and love, honor and obey your hunches.

Until next time

Get the book here >> shop-now-button-copy












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