Jonathan Pepin

Notes from Ogilvy On Advertising [raw]

2018-02-21

Raw Kindle notes for Ogilvy On Advertising by David Ogilvy

I do not regard advertising as entertainment or an art form, but as a medium of information.

Consumers still buy products whose advertising promises them value for money, beauty, nutrition, relief from suffering, social status and so on. All over the world.

‘I have seen one advertisement actually sell not twice as much, not three times as much, but 19½ times as much as another.

The wrong advertising can actually reduce the sales of a product.

First, 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.

Your next chore is to find out what kind of advertising your competitors have been doing for similar products, and with what success. This will give you your bearings.

Now comes 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.

The personality of a product is an amalgam of many things – its name, its packaging, its price, the style of its advertising, and, above all, the nature of the product itself

It takes a big idea to attract the attention of consumers and get them to buy your product. Unless your advertising contains a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night.

It will help you recognize a big idea if you ask yourself five questions: 1 Did it make me gasp when I first saw it? 2 Do I wish I had thought of it myself? 3 Is it unique? 4 Does it fit the strategy to perfection? 5 Could it be used for 30 years?

Research shows that the readership of an advertisement does not decline when it is run several times in the same magazine. Readership remains at the same level throughout at least four repetitions.

Advertising agencies waste their client’s money repeating the same mistakes.

Says Reeves, ‘Originality is the most dangerous word in advertising. Preoccupied with originality, copywriters pursue something as illusory as swamp fire, for which the Latin phrase is ignis fatuus.’

Rosser Reeves: ‘Do you want fine writing? Do you want masterpieces? Or do you want to see the goddamned sales curve start moving up?’

Advertising reflects the mores of society, but does not influence them.

If you follow the advice I have given you, you will do your homework, avoid committees, learn from research, watch what the direct-response advertisers do, and stay away from irrelevant sex.

Don’t tell my mother I work in an advertising agency – she thinks I play the piano in a whorehouse.

Running an agency requires midnight oil, salesmanship of the highest order, a deep keel, guts, thrust, and a genius for sustaining the morale of men and women who work in a continuous state of anxiety.

Make it fun to work in your agency. When people aren’t having any fun, they don’t produce good advertising. Kill grimness with laughter. Encourage exuberance. Get rid of sad dogs who spread gloom.

What can you do to keep sibling rivalry under control? You can be fair, and you can avoid playing favorites.

Royal Dutch Shell has found that the most reliable criteria for selecting what they call Crown Princes are these: 1 The power of analysis. 2 Imagination. 3 A sense of reality. 4 The ‘helicopter quality’ – the ability to look at facts and problems from an overall viewpoint.

Never hire your friends. I have made this mistake three times, and had to fire all three. They are no longer my friends.

Most of the great leaders I know have the ability to inspire people with their speeches. If you cannot write inspiring speeches yourself, use ghost-writers – but use good ones.

Marvin Bower, who made McKinsey what it is today, believes that every company should have a written set of principles and purposes.

I can only tell you that mine have proved invaluable in keeping a complicated enterprise on course.

When a client frets about the price of his agency’s services, he ends up getting a low price and poor advertising.

The headlines which work best are those which promise the reader a benefit

Headlines which contain news are sure-fire. The news can be the announcement of a new product, an improvement in an old product, or a new way to use an old product – like serving Campbell’s Soup on the rocks.

Headlines that offer the reader helpful information, like HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE, attract above-average readership.

I advise you to include the brand name in your headline. If you don’t, 80 per cent of readers (who don’t read your body copy) will never know what product you are advertising.

Specifics work better than generalities.

More people read the captions under illustrations than read the body copy, so never use an illustration without putting a caption under it. Your caption should include the brand name and the promise.

Opinion Research Corporation has found that people who know a company well are five times more likely to have a favorable opinion of it.

The ‘right kind’ are those which set up a problem and demonstrate how your product can solve it;

Your chances of competing successfully against this juggernaut will be improved if you understand the reasons for its overwhelming success,

Their guiding philosophy is to plan thoroughly, minimize risk, and stick to their proven principles.

‘The key to successful marketing is superior product performance…. If the consumer does not perceive any real benefits in the brand, then no amount of ingenious advertising and selling can save it.’

Only three products in the history of P&G have gone national without being test-marketed for at least six months. Two of them failed.

They always promise the consumer one important benefit.

the first duty of advertising is to communicate effectively, not to be original or entertaining,

Less than half their commercials include a ‘reason why’. They have come to think it sufficient to show consumers what the product will do for them, without explaining why it does it.

Advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals.

Advertising which promises no benefit to the consumer does not sell, yet the majority of campaigns contain no promise whatever.

Concentrate your time, your brains, and your advertising money on your successes. Back your winners, and abandon your losers.