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Published on March 23, 2009

Wise words ringing in my ears (by Ed)

I’ve just finished reading “Confessions of an Advertising Man” written by the genius that was David Ogilvy – one of the true grandfathers of the advertising world.

The book is in fact a reflection on the evolution of the industry from very humble beginnings into the sophisticated art form that constitutes advertising in the modern age. 

Many of Ogilvy’s observations are based on what was going on in the 1940’s and 50’s so it seems disappointing that many agencies and clients are still making the same basic errors 60+ years later despite all the insight and technology available to us.  

Possibly two of the most observant [and potentially the most obvious!] statements made by Ogilvy keep entering my head:

 1 “If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative.”

“What really decides consumers to buy or not to buy is the content of your advertising, not its form”

Next week we have a creative workshop with one of our client’s, where we will sit down together over the course of half a day, to “kick-start” the creative process for a new campaign. 

My experience with these sessions is that people can sometimes get carried away with the creative execution, failing to address the real campaign objective, which is to ultimately sell more product.

So to address this I think I may stick these two statements to the wall in the meeting room where this session is to take place – just to remind us!!!!

Thanks in advance David!

The other key insight of Ogilvy that makes me smile [a lot!] is

2 “Our business is infested with idiots who try to impress by using pretentious jargon.”

So next time we are tempted to “dial it up [or down]”, “lock it down”, “thought-shower”, “bust paradigms”, or use any other of the wondrous language that peppers our working lives today, perhaps we need to stop and think. 

I, for one, don’t want to be an idiot!

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