Book "Confessions of an Advertising Man" - David Ogilvy

Confessions of an Advertising Man - David Ogilvy

Learn about one of the most effective legacies left by David Ogilvy to leverage marketing and communication strategies.

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How many teachings described in books are actually applicable in everyday life? Sometimes we read a lot of content on a certain subject, but it remains stagnant only in theory.

However, this is not the case with David Ogilvy's work. In this book, the author exposes countless successful cases, techniques for writing powerful ads, great campaigns, tips for customer relations and insights that people today do not know the origin of.

If you want to go deeper into the world of communication and become a reference in marketing, read on and learn now with "Confessions of an Advertising Man".

Let's go?

About the book “Confessions of an Advertising Man”

Trying to externalize his experience with big brands and as manager of the Ogilvy & Mather agency, the author compiles several "recipes" full of teachings and techniques that helped him in the success of campaigns for brands such as Dove and Pepsi, ads, copies, team management and client loyalty.

Published for the first time in 1963 with 254 pages, the book shows us that, although it was written in the 1960s, the experiences and the vision of one of the greatest advertising men in history are still relevant and current.

Who is David Ogilvy?

If Philip Kotler is considered the "father of marketing", David Ogilvy is the "father of advertising".

He founded the Ogilvy & Mather advertising agency at the age of 40. Ogilvy began his career as a cook, was an oven salesman and a security coordinator during World War II.

He has been called by Time as "the advertising industry's most sought-after wizard" and has published two other works: Ogilvy on Advertising and The Unpublished David Ogilvy.

Who should read this book?

The book's teachings are limitless. It is recommended reading not only for marketing professionals, but also for businessmen, entrepreneurs and sellers who want to learn about management, brand building, customer loyalty and other aspects of the advertising world.

The author shows that he has rejected traditional practices, addresses various strategies and topics, advises the reader, teaches with creativity and talks about successful cases of clients such as Dove, Pepsi, FedEx, Visa, Schweppes and Mars, among others.

What are the key ideas of the book “Confessions of an Advertising Man”?

  • Imitation = lower product;
  • What leads the customer to buy a product or not is the content of the advertising, not its form;
  • Never write an ad that you don't want your wife to read;
  • To write a good text, you must believe in the product;
  • The more you say, the more you sell.

Below, we will discuss some ideas for you to quickly and easily understand how to avoid the sins that many professionals commit to start writing successful ads. Let's go?

How to create an unforgettable ad?

In "Confessions of an Advertising Man" David Ogilvy exemplifies how readers can write great ads. To approach this concept, we must first understand what his motivation was.

Ogilvy believed that advertisements were not purely creative. For him, a good ad follows rules and has concepts that make it excellent, called by him the "magic lantern": a cluster of rules (quintessences) derived from scientific articles and research proven by the author himself.

He argues that even the non-profit arts had rules, since Mozart wrote his sonatas under discipline - with exposition, development and recapitulation - and with enforceable norms.

Now that you have understood the author's fundamentals and concepts, it will be necessary to understand what a good advertisement is made of.

What makes an effective ad?

What is an effective ad for you? Is it the one that has a huge production, carries a great brand name, and seems to stay in the consumer's head for a long time?

For David Ogilvy, a successful ad does not have these characteristics. In his view, a great ad is one that:

  • Has been approved by the customer;
  • It was not plagiarized;
  • The advertising world remembers it as an admirable piece of work;
  • Fixes the reader's attention exclusively on the product!

According to the author, from the moment you develop an ad and spend study, time and money, your primary intention is to convert it into sales. After all, it is your product that will bring success to the company, except if your strategy is focused on Inbound Marketing, where what counts is your brand.

We should distinguish the difference between the advertising writer and the copywriter. The writer is the person responsible for creating the viral ads, whose brand is most publicized and not the product.

The copywriter, on the other hand, works with a more direct ad approach.

Ogilvy recommends that when you make your announcement aiming at a sale, you should have the speech of Napoleon Bonaparte, not a political speech. The difference between a good influencer and a good speaker is precisely in converting people and generating value.

Finally, the author believes that good ads are not written by creative copywriters, because this practice does not depend on creativity. According to him, there are only people who know how to make ads and people who don't know how to make ads. The secret of a successful ad is to follow the rules.

What are David Ogilvy's rules?

On the concept of the magic lantern, David Ogilvy has techniques for making the cash register tinkle. It is worth noting that the topics were written in the 1960s, but they can, and should, still be used to devise successful strategies.

What you say is more important than how you say it

One day, while on the bus, the author hears a lady talking to her friend: "Maria, I would buy that new brand of soap if they had made the ad in Arial size 12.

This reflection summarizes what the first rule says. What leads the consumer to buy or not to buy a product is the content of the ad not its form:

“Big promise creates big product, weak promise creates weak product!”

Talk about product features

The more you say, the more you sell. According to Ogilvy, "customers like to know what they are buying.

It is important to understand that consumers want facts about the product, not just adjectives and decorative words.

Have good manners

There are many advertisements that feature jokes to catch the attention of the target audience and get the message across. The author says that when the housewife is shopping at the supermarket, she is in a serious frame of mind.

People don't buy from clowns. In summary, if the ad has no direct relation to the entertainment world, it is recommended that you do not make jokes.

Your advertising should be contemporary

Remember your persona and make your ads exclusively with potential buyers in mind. Keep the vocabulary and slang in your ad consistent with current events.

The function of the ad is to share an idea or a product quickly. Therefore, avoid difficult terms

Don't write a lying ad

David Ogilvy has an important phrase in the world of marketing:

Never write an advertisement which you wouldn't want your family to read. You wouldn't tell lies to your own wife. Don't tell them to mine.

Be honest about the promise and transformation of your product. Think for a moment: if you lie about what you are selling, you will be punished by the government who will sue you or by the consumer who will never buy your product again.

Good products are sold with honest advertising that comes from mental triggers

What do other authors say about it?

In the book "Secrets of Power Negotiating", by Roger Dawson, you will learn step by step how to improve your performance in negotiations, increase your power of persuasion, and excel in the most unexpected situations in the business world.

Words have power! Paulo Maccedo shows the secrets of persuasion in the book "Copywriting", in which he gathers the greatest copywriting techniques that make the difference when it comes to attracting and converting clients.

In the book "Transformando Palavras em Dinheiro", Ícaro de Carvalho demonstrates through 42 lessons how good and convincing written communication can turn words into money.

Ok, but how can I apply this to my life?

  • Study your persona;
  • Create ads that are honest and contribute to the brand's image;
  • Resolve buyers' objections by creating ads that follow the rules;
  • Don't share the secret of your success;
  • Cultivate a strong corporate culture.

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Book "Confessions of an Advertising Man"