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He gave one example to illustrate how he hated working with industry associations and in this instance, was invited to attend a pitch with a number of other agencies who were competing for theÂ businessÂ of a rayon industry association. At the beginning of the presentation, he was told he had exactly 15 minutes to complete his presentation at which time the head of the rayon association's search committee would ring a bell (!) signifying that his time was up and that the next ad agency's 15 minutes had started.
After asking the committee a few questions about their requirements, their ad approval process and their budget - and realizing that he really didn't want to work with these people - he said "ring the bell!" and left without doing his pitch.
In other words he fired them before they even hired him.
From a sales perspective there were a number of key points inÂ the bookÂ that anyone inadvertisingÂ or sales - or anyone who is interested in these fields - would find interesting.
Just like we've learned that in sales you need to deal directly with theÂ decisionÂ maker and not one of their underlings, David Ogilvy also believed that if you had toÂ deal withÂ too manydecisionÂ makers - which was just one of the reasons he didn't bother with the rayon association - you were probably better off letting someone elseÂ deal withÂ them
David Ogilvy wrote this book for three reasons:
To attract more business.
To demonstrate value for a public offering
To make himself better known in the business world.
He wasn't afraid to admit that his motive for writing the book was completely self serving, but also wanted the book to serve as an educational experience to its readers. In the book you will learn how to:
Build Great Campaigns
Write Potent Copy
Illustrate Advertisements and Posters
Make Good Television Commercials
Make Good Campaigns for Food Products, Tourist Destinations, and Proprietary Medicines
Rise to the Top
Following are the parts I found most important for those in my field from the chapter on copywriting, but the book is relevant to anyone running a business whether it is a small startup or a large corporation.
What You Say Is More Important Than How You Say It
Once upon a time I was riding on the top of a Fifth Avenue bus, when I heard a mythical housewife say to another, "Molly, my dear, I would have bought that new brand of toilet soap if only they hadn't set the body copy in ten point Garamond."
Don't be a copy cat
Rudyard Kipling wrote a long poem about a self-made shipping tycoon called Sir Anthony Gloster. On his death bed the old man reviews the course of his life for the benefit of his son, and refers contempuously to his competitors:
They copied all they could follow, but they couldn't copy my mind,
And I left 'em sweating and stealing, a year and a half behind.
Other words and phrases which work wonders are:
How to, Suddenly, Now, Announcing, Introducing, It's Here, Just Arrived, Important Development, Improvement, Amazing, Sensational, Remarkable, Revolutionary, Startling, Miracle, Magic, Offer, Quick, Easy, Wanted, Callenge, Advice to, The Truth About, Compare, Bargain, Hurry, Last Chance
If you need very long copy, there are several devices which are known to increase its readership:
(1) A display subhead of two or three lines, between your headline and your body copy, will heighten the reader's appetite for feast to come.
(2) If you start your body copy with a large initial letter, you will increase readership by an average of 13 per cent.
David Ogilvy had a proven track record of success and definitely has an extensive knowledge of the advertising business. When it comes to running an agency or any business, Ogilvy's insight on how to create a company are timeless. This book is relevant to the PR industry and to anyone running a business
A Scotsman, he was expelled from Oxford in 1931. Then he went through a succession of careers - a chef in Paris, a door-to-door salesman, a social worker in the Edinburgh slums, a research associate of Dr. Gallup for the motion picture industry, an assistant to Sir William Stephenson in British Security Co-ordination, and a farmer in Pennsylvania.
Then he founded Ogilvy, Benson & Mather and built it in short order into one of the largest and most respected advertising agencies in the United States.
Confessions of an Advertising ManÂ is the "little red book" of advertising, containing distilled wisdom of years of research, testing and experience.
According to David Ogilvy, new recruits for the agency went through a training program consisting of a "magic lantern" (projected photo slide) show of the basic principles and practices of the agency. Those who weren't enthusiastically in agreement with the training were invited to leave. The information from those photo slides has been incorporated into this book.
Ogilvy's philosophy was, "once a salesman, always a salesman." Advertising that doesn't sell a product or service is worthless. He avoided having company ads submitted for artistic awards. Winning one would be an embarrassment.
He was an able copywriter, and some of his ads became classics. (See reprints in his other book,Â Ogilvy On Advertising.) Two of his famous headlines were "At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock" and "The man in the Hathaway shirt".
Ogilvy also emphasized the importance of research in creating effective ads. He felt his experience working with Gallup contributed as much to his success as his selling experience.
Since Ogilvy's goal was for the agency's advertising to be effective at selling, he admired and studied direct response advertisers, who test and measure everything and whose companies live or die based on the effectiveness of their ads.
David Ogilvy infused this book with his warm character, showing the gentle humor of a true English gentleman. He passed away in 1999 at age 88, and is greatly missed.
Pick from gems such as "the surest way to overspend is not to spend enough", "very few products do not benefit from a first class ticket through life" or "the consumer is not a moron" and get sellotaping.
It's autocratic, bombastic, chauvinist, lordly, intuitive. It is also, perversely, principled, decent and logical. Just when you've started to tire of the author's conceit, he throws in a piece of wonderfully funny self-deprecation.
Reading it now something very obvious occurs to me. It's not a confession, it's a 'how to' book. Ten of the 11 chapters start with those two words. (The 11th is called 'Should advertising be abolished?' Shockingly Ogilvy concludes that, on balance, it shouldn't).
The first half - a hundred or so pages - is about establishing and running an agency, keeping business, being a great client, recruiting talent. They're brilliant - as fresh, radical and inspiring as I imagine they must have been in 1963.
The second hundred pages are about how to do effective advertising and, as I suppose you would expect 41 years on, they are slightly comical. If Sir Alan Parker says (and he does in the introduction to this new edition) that COAAM was required reading for "all us young bucks" in London's '60s advertising scene then I, for one, certainly believe him. But anyone following the immutable Ogilvy rules today would be impolitely shown the door.
Now, times have changed, and that's a big factor. Television advertising, while not exactly in its infancy in 1963, was still at junior high school. The author writes, "I have not yet seen a commercial that satisfied me", and he's equally dismissive about posters. Nearly everything he has to say on the subject of making effective advertising concerns press.
For all that, you have to read this if you haven't, and re-read it if you have. The brilliance of the first half outweighs the outdatedness of the second. And here's my favourite bit. Years ago I came across a little ditty that stuck in my mind. The other day I repeated it for our creative director, Nik Studzinski, who looked at me with admiration (actually it may have been pity, hard to tell). It goes:
"When a client moans and sighs Make his logo twice the size If he still should prove refractory Show a picture of the factory Only in the gravest cases Should you show your clients' faces."