Last week marked the 100th birthday of David Ogilvy, legendary advertising executive.
Nicknamed “The Father of Advertising,” Time called Ogilvy “the most sought-after wizard in today’s advertising industry.”
It’s no secret that I’m a big, BIG fan of David Ogilvy, and have been heavily influenced by his words and wisdom.
So to celebrate his 100th birthday, l want to share my favorite David Ogilvy quotes. Together, let’s learn from the original “Mad Man” and “Wizard of Ads.” Enjoy!
“I do not regard advertising as entertainment or an art form, but as a medium of information. When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it ‘creative.’ I want you to find it so interesting you buy the product.”
“You aren’t advertising to a standing army; you are advertising to a moving parade.”
“Specifics work better than generalities. When research reported that the average shopper thought Sears Roebuck made a profit of 37 percent on sales, I headlined an advertisement ‘Sears makes a profit of 5 percent.’ This specific was more persuasive than saying that Sears’ profit was ‘less than you might suppose’ or something equally vague.”
“What is a good advertisement? An advertisement which pleases you because of its style, or an advertisement which sells the most? They are seldom the same.”
“There have always been noisy lunatics on the fringes of the advertising business. Their stock-in-trade includes ethnic humor, eccentric art direction, contempt for research, and their self-proclaimed genius. They are seldom found out, because they gravitate to the kind of clients who, bamboozled by their rhetoric, do not hold them responsible for sales results.”
“Big ideas come from the unconscious. This is true in art, in science and in business. But your conscious has to be well informed or your idea will be irrelevant. Stuff your conscious mind with information, then unhook your rational thought process. You can help this process by going for a long walk, or taking a hot bath, or drinking half a pint of claret.”
“Repeat your winners. If you are lucky enough to write a good advertisement, repeat it until it stops selling. Scores of good advertisements have been discarded before they lost their potency.”
“Don’t keep a dog and bark yourself. Any fool can write a bad advertisement, but it takes a genius to keep his hands off a good one.”
“When people read your copy, they are alone. Pretend you are writing each of them a letter on behalf of your client. One human being to another, second person singular.”
“The best way to improve the sale of a product is to improve the product.”
“They (general advertisers) worship at the altar of creativity, which really means originality — the most dangerous word in the lexicon of advertising.”
“When you advertise fire-extinguishers, open with fire.”
Happy birthday, David Ogilvy!