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Learn the key ideas of the book by David M. Ogilvy

Ogilvy on Advertising

Learn about the father of copywriting and his beloved profession

David Ogilvy rewrote history and set new standards with his clean, clear, and direct style, at a time when the majority of advertising took place in the pages of newspapers. Written in the early Eighties, Ogilvy on Advertising is a book in which a passion for the work of copywriters, advertisers, and creative directors oozes from every page. However, this is also a useful book for anyone still active in these professions today. In spite of the amount of time that has passed since its initial  publication, and the digital technologies and the evolutions that have since come into play, the mechanisms driving people to take action and make a purchase have remained fairly constant. When put under the microscope, advertising proves to consistently exploit the same core levers, and, if done well, will endure through time – just like many of Ogilvy’s campaigns.

Ogilvy on Advertising
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Advertising is a lucky balance between copy and image

Over the years, the means by which advertising content is created and disseminated have changed, but the general principles that it is based on have always remained the same. All over the world, consumers’ purchasing choices are based on their desire for a product that has been designed to meet certain needs: the job of advertising is to push them to take the leap and make the purchase.

David Ogilvy is thoroughly convinced that being in advertising does not mean, in fact, exercising one's creativity and giving it free rein, but rather putting it at the service of a single objective: the sale of products or services. Pursuing originality at all costs might not even lead to a successful campaign, ever. In fact, advertising should not be considered so much an art form, but as a means by which information can be transmitted, in an interesting enough way to arouse the public’s interest. The importance of this is evident in the fact that two advertisements can obtain very different results, despite occupying the same space on a billboard or the identical page in a newspaper. It is a subtle balance, in which image and text must work together to form a winning combination. In some cases, in fact, when this delicate balance is not achieved, it can result in creating the exact opposite effect, namely a reduction in sales. 

But what's the recipe for a winning mix of copy and image? First, you need to know the product like the back of your hand: this means studying it in detail, for weeks, if necessary, to identify which aspects should take centre stage in the advertising campaign. To do this, you need to get to know the client, and study all of the material they provide you with, as well as conducting your own research to ensure that you have uncovered anything and everything that may be important to say. The second point revolves around knowing the customer: in fact, the advertiser needs to be familiar with customer tastes, inclinations, ideas, and anything else that can be useful to ensure that they buy what the advertiser is wanting to sell them.


The key ideas of "Ogilvy on Advertising"

Advertising is a lucky balance between copy and image
Positioning: what the product does, and who it’s targeted at
The advertiser must be able to recognise big ideas when they come along
Convey positive values ​​and repeat past victories
How to run an advertising agency
Good advertising is the best way to find new clients
Advertising for television in sixteen points
Travel advertising
The miracles of research
The evolution of advertising: 13 changes Ogilvy predicted
Take-home message

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