Ogilvy on Advertising

I just finished reading this book over my Sinhala avurudu break at my parents house. I found the insights fascinating. Even though there is no mention in his book about the Internet, many of his insights into advertising apply to digital marketing as well. Human nature and how we respond to advertising doesn't change - only the media does.

Here are some notable insights/quotes from Ogilvy:

"It isn't the whiskey that sells, it's the image."

When asked what was the best asset a man could have, Albert Lasker - the most astute of all advertising men - replied, "Humility in the presence of a good idea."

"If the consumer feels certain that your product is good and feels uncertain about your competitor's, he will buy yours."

"If you are lucky enough to write a good advertisement, repeat it until it stops selling."

"Committees can criticize, but they cannot create. 'Search the parks in all your cities, You'll find no statues of commitees.'"

"...photographs of finished dishes consistently attracted more readers than photographs of raw ingredients."

"Eighty-seven American universities offer undergraduate courses in advertising, and some even give degrees in it. With a few conspicuous exceptions, the teachers lack the practical experience to be relevant."

"Be happy while you're living, for you're a long time dead." - Scottish proverb.

"Don't tell my mother I work in an advertising agency - she thinks I play piano in a whorehouse." - the head of a Paris advertising agency.

"...the lay public thinks we admen are rascals."

"Every time I give someone a title, I make a hundred people angry and one person ungrateful." - Louis XIV.

"I was infinitely more useful to my clients when I wrote copy than when I was Chairman of the board."

"Never hire your friends."

"Never hire your client's children."

"There appears to be no correlation between leadership and academic achievement. I was relieved to learn this, because I have no college degree."

"How many advertising agencies would hire a 38-year-old man whose curriculum vitae read: 'Unemployed farmer, former cook and university drop-out?' (Me in the year I started Ogilvy & Mather.)"

"The best leaders are apt to be found among those executives who have a strong component of unorthodoxy in their characters."

"Never allow two people to do a job which one could do."

"The easiest way to get new clients is to do good advertising."

"If you are going to choose your agency on the basis of price, you are looking through the wrong end of the telescope."

"'Any fool can write a bad advertisement, but it takes a genius to keep his hands off a good one."

"Five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy."

"When agencies sign their ads, they tend to produce better ones."

"Advertising suffers from sporadic epidemics of Artdirectoritis."

"KISS - Keep It Simple, Stupid."

"On a train journey to California, a friend asked Mr. Wrigley why, with the lion's share of the market, he continue to advertise chewing gum. 'How fast do you think this train is going?' asked Wrigley. 'I would say about ninety miles an hour.' 'Well,' said Wrigley, 'do you suggest we unhitch the engine?'

"Nobody with a college education should be allowed to write copy for the mass market."

"The best way to increase the sale of a product is to improve the product."











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About Sandaruwan Madduma Bandara

Sandaruwan Madduma Bandara is the CEO of 3CS (www.3cs.lk), Sri Lanka's Premier web design company. He has a range of interests including creative writing, photography, art and travel. He is also a voracious reader.