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How To Create Advertising That Sells by David Ogilvy


Neville

david ogilvy cartoon

To me, as a copywriter who focuses on making sales (not just writing fswancy-schmancy words), I think this was one of the most iconic ads ever.

It has no images.

It fits on a single page.

It only uses black ink.

It sold more than a billion dollars worth of business.

It hangs on my wall 35 years after it was published!

Here it is:

og_ad.jpg

::swoon:: !!

What an amazing piece of advertising right? By openly sharing their secret sauce, Ogilvy & Mather managed to pull in a billion+ dollars of contracts stemming from this series of advertisements.

This single page of 9pt font size text will never win any design awards, but it sure as hell sold a lot of lucrative contracts!

I like it because it contains an entire marketing education on a single page.

It was written by David Ogilvy and circulated in magazines in 1982. All it does is spell out all the knowledge the Ogilvy & Mather advertising agency has learned throughout the years.

In fact it's 98% information, and only 2% selling.

It utilizes this weird phenomenon where:

 

When you GIVE AWAY amazing free information, people tend to BUY MORE from you!

 

It's such a great resource, that 35 years after it's publication, in my home, I keep this advertisement as a permanent fixture:

ogilvy advertising that sells frame picture

I love glancing at this ad and getting ideas from it, so here below we have reproduced the text so it's easier to read in the computer age:

Enjoy :)

 

 

Let's talk about David Ogilvy for a second:

david-ogilvy-characteristics.png
David Ogilvy seemed like a pretty goddamn awesome guy. He's one of the inspirations for the show Mad Men.

He was super vocal about how dumb it was that agencies would make advertisements that would try to win awards....and not focus on making sales.

In fact he authored an INCREDIBLE BOOK (and still one of my Top 3 Favorites) called Ogilvy On Advertising about this subject, and it contains hundreds of real examples of successful (and unsuccessful) advertisements:

Ogilvy on Advertising book by David Ogilvy

He was a HUGE fan of the direct mail world because of how scientific they were in their marketing vs the not-scientific-at-all advertising agencies of the world.

He (accurately) predicted most advertising would start being measured down to the penny. As computers became more prevalent this became truer and truer.

 

Here's some of my favorite David Ogilvy quotes:

Here's a couple of my favorite Ogilvy quotes.

david ogilvy quote about idiots

David Ogilvy quote on headlines

David Ogilvy Quote the customer is not a moron she's your wife

David Ogilvy quote on testing and improving

 

 

Download the whole collection of Ogilvy & Mather "How to" ads:

Click here to subscribe

-- Keep in your own files --

-- Share it with friends and colleagues --

-- Download as Google Doc, Word, or PDF file --

 

Hopefully you enjoyed this post and learned something!

Sincerely,

Neville Medhora - David Ogilvy Wannabe

P.S. Did you know this ad was in a series of 6 ads of similar nature? Here's the other 5 ads:

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Whahoa where has this been all my life? Thank you for sharing these have never seen them before. Love it!
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Guest Roderick

Posted

I bought Ogilvy on Advertising at a used book store a few months ago and was amazed by the value. Very relevant info in the scope of selling today. Bookmarked this page to reference the other "How To" ads. Thanks Neville!
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Guest Richard Dernister

Posted

Glancing at the bookshelf next to my computer I see all the old familiar names -- Hopkins, Caples, Ogilvy, Schwab, Collier, Schwartz, Bly -- as well as some lesser known or newer ones: Masterson, Lant, Kennedy, Warwick, Cialdini (on persuasion), the AWAI materials, and so forth. All excellent reference books regardless of their age and many of which Neville references in his copywriting materials. Some 40 years ago I used the information I learned from the "classic" copywriters to put together a sales letter. It was a standard package for the time: #10 envelope, four page letter, a lift note, BRE, and a full-page order form with with an additional offer in the P.S. along with a money-back guarantee PLUS 10% if the customer was unhappy for any reason. I mailed it to a small (5K) list to test and waited. A couple of days later I asked an associate to stop by the post office where I'd rented a small box to pick up whatever mail had come in. He came back to me and said the post office wants you to rent a bigger box: he had a entire mail bag full of responses to my mailer. From that one mailing I immediately converted 10% (actually a bit more than 500 orders), and at the moment I can't recall the conversion rate from the follow-up responses to requests for further information. An incredible 20% of the orders received also bought the offer that was made only at the bottom of the order form in a P.S. My point is that although this was "old school" direct mail, the principles haven't changed and Neville seems to be repackaging this information in a much more informal and easier-to-use way designed for modern direct response techniques (we didn't have e-mail, auto responders, and the like back then). This, in my opinion, is a very good and useful thing.
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Guest Johnny Holguin

Posted

Neville, I knew you were holding out on us man. This morning read tasted great with my coffee and bean n cheese taco! And I'm in San Antonio - you know we have the best.
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hey Nev. I would like to get the kopywriting kourse. do you have a payment plan. something monthly ? Im ready to give you my money.....
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Guest Dan Ceballos

Posted

Great stuff Neville, thanks so much for sharing Ogilvy’s pearls of wisdom.

I know you give away MASSIVE amount of free content, and I thank you for that.

Have a SPOOK-taclar Halloween.

Dan

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Guest Neville

Posted

Glad you liked Naomi, these ads are super cool and super helpful!
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Guest Neville

Posted

Glad you liked these Roderick! That book is amazing, chock-full of awesome advertisements and great wisdom from Ogilvy himself!
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Guest Neville

Posted

Ummmmmm clearly you're lying because WE have the best breakfast tacos in Austin :-P
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Guest Neville

Posted

Glad you enjoyed them Dan, I get a lot out of them and hope you do too :)
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Guest Michelle Brinson

Posted

I keep getting an error message when I try to download the files. It's a Google page that says I can't download them because it violates their Terms of Service. Am I the only one having this problem? I really really wanted to take a look at these... if anyone wants to share... feel free to email me.
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Guest John Williams

Posted

Great stuff as always, Neville. But there is a great WordPressy way of showing OG's pearls of wisdom up close (if you have a high-resolution image) - Here's some Halloween eye-candy for all. http://www.terrazoom.com/og-for-nev/

Enjoy!

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Great read. Thanks for that. Maybe you could do a post and go over each of these 38 points with examples and further commentary? Just a thought.
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Guest Mark W.

Posted

One of the best posts!! Thanks Sir Neville!! I want to create a poster of the same thing!! I love inspiration! And you are good at keeping my head in the game! Olgilvy is awesome! I am about to order/read his book about an ad men. As I immerse myself, everyone speaks Olgivly!

Keep doing your thang Neville! I'll follow bro!

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Hi Neville,

Great stuff. I have that book too, it is great.

Here are some small TYPOS I came across reading your article (no offence, just tips)!

- promise is nota claim (not a)

- if you don’t sell the production your headline (product in your)

I really would like to have the PDF's from the VW and Hathaway shirt you have on your wall. Can you provide a Google Docs for these also?

Thanks, Pim

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I was thinking, "I have to rewrite this and print it out, what a bummer", and then I saw you did that for me.

Thank you so much!

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Richard—I'm struggling to find books, or even full names, from the "lesser known, newer" names you listed. My appetite is whetted, could you gift us all a list or a picture of your bookshelf? Thank you much
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Guest Neville

Posted

Thank you John....but isn't the current image relatively easy to read already?

Also, even BETTER is the transcription, so anyone can read on mobile also :)

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Guest Neville

Posted

Hey Pete.....that was originally what this was about, but that would've been overkill I think.

The beauty of this simple ad was to list everything out in rapid-fire format, so you can briefly glance at it, get an idea, then go on with your day :)

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Guest Hao Nguyen

Posted

Thank you so much for your sharing. I've never seen this summary before. Such a great work!

The other picture about Ogilvy ads on the wall, could you share? I really want to read more.

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