Online marketing information can change quickly This article is 7 years and 230 days old, and the facts and opinions contained in it may be out of date.
Book: Confessions of an Advertising Man by: David Ogilvy
Here’s the scoop: A good friend of mine, and fellow search marketer who spent many years on Madison Avenue has convinced me to educate myself further about "old school" advertising, and has provided me with a great reading list, which I’m now one book through. If the rest are anything like this one, it should be pretty easy to get through them.
Interpreted Thesis: More so than a thesis – there is a purpose behind this book. David Ogilvy wrote this book for three reasons -
I. How to Manage an Advertising Agency
II. How to Get Clients
III. How to Keep Clients
IV. How to Be a Good Client
V. How to Build Great Campaigns
VI. How to Write Potent Copy
VII. How to Illustrate Advertisements and Posters
VIII. How to Make Good Television Commercials
IX. How to Make Good Campaigns for Food Products, Tourist Destinations, and Proprietary Medicines
X. How to Rise to the Top of the Tree – Advice to the Young
XI. Should Advertising be Abolished
Quotes from dog-eared pages:
The creative process requires more than reason. Most original thinking isn’t even verbal. It requires "a groping experimentation with ideas, governed by intuitive hunches and inspired by the unconcious."
There is one stratagem which seems to work in almost every case: get the prospect to do most of the talking. The more you listen, the wiser he thinks you are.
Amateurs do it by cajoling a group of agencies into submitting free campaigns, on speculation. The agencies which win these contests are the ones which use their best brains for soliciting new accounts; they relegate their clients to their second-best brains. If I were a manufacturere, I would look for an agency which had no new-business department. The best agencies don’t need them; they get all the business they can handle without preparing speculative campaigns.
(1) 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."
(11) 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.
(4) 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.
Application to Search
It is not all to surprising that many of the same principles from ad agencies should apply to new SEM agencies. It was, however, good to see insight into how a TOP agency is run. The same principles of attracting and keeping clients, of being a good client, and on advertising seems to parallel a lot of what I’ve said in my top posts in the past as advice to SEO agencies, clients, and individual SEO’s (new school advertisers).
I definitely have a love/hate relationship with the attitudes of old school advertising. I love the confidence they have in some great concepts they have set forth. I also hate the rigidity in thinking that the same confidence creates. I think being stubborn, and having this confidence is a prerequisite for creating any type of marketing, and knowing that your ideas will succeed when everyone else says they won’t.
Aside to the folks at Ogilvy:
I can only imagine the internal political warfare taking place with the NEO Ogilvy folks and their traditional breathren. I understand that the "cobbler’s kids sometimes has no shoes", but there’s still no excuse for still using frames and few titles on your site in 2007. Just click through on search results to see one of many reasons why. It may not be priority, but there is still no excuse for oversights like these. I’ll be happy to refer several people that could help. Quit letting the lawyers and politicians win the battles.
It is also reassuring to see that these same top agencies, are still so worried about the old principles, or something else, that they are oblivious to search as a new ad medium. I know that it may not be a priority, but that is still no excuse for not utilizing title tags. I tried to demonstrate title tags to anyone who cared to listen a year and a half ago – ironically, at the time of this post – that post ranks #4 for "top ad agencies". I think David Ogilvy is probably rolling over in his grave now that he can see what a "web headline" (IE: title tag) is – and how underutilized it is at his agency and others. Can you imagine any ad agency not spending the proper amount of time crafting an effective headline?!? I can only hope he’s rooting for the new little guys to get bigger before the large agencies truly start to figure it out.
This is definitely a book worth reading if you are blurring the lines between SEM and advertising, have clients, or even ARE a client of an SEM firm or ad agency. David Ogilvy had a proven track record of success, and has become a name synonymous with successful advertising. He lays out his knowledge in an offering that I’m sure his competitors and friends were quite thankful for.