David Mackenzie Ogilvy CBE was born on 23 June 1911. He was a British advertising tycoon, founder of Ogilvy & Mather, and known as the “Father of Advertising”. Trained at the Gallup research organisation, he attributed the success of his campaigns to meticulous research into consumer habits. He died on 21 July 1999
43+ David Ogilvy Quotes On Habits Of Successful Marketers and advertisers ( “My Life”)
- If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative.
2. Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving.
3. I notice increasing reluctance on the part of marketing executives to use judgment; they are coming to rely too much on research, and they use it as a drunkard uses a lamp post for support, rather than for illumination.
4. The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible.
5. I don’t know the rules of grammar… If you’re trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think. We try to write in the vernacular
6. The consumer isn’t a moron. She is your wife.
7. It takes a big idea to attract the attention of consumers and get them to buy your product. Unless your advertising contains a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night. I doubt if more than one campaign in a hundred contains a big idea.
8. Hard work never killed a man. Men die of boredom, psychological conflict, and disease. They do not die of hard work.
9. Where people aren’t having any fun, they seldom produce good work.
10. The headlines which work best are those which promise the reader a benefit
11. Don’t bunt. Aim out of the ball park. Aim for the company of immortals
12. 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 unconscious.’ The majority of business men are incapable of original thinking because they are unable to escape from the tyranny of reason. Their imaginations are blocked.
13. Develop your eccentricities while you are young. That way, when you get old, people won’t think you’re going gaga.
14. What you say in advertising is more important than how you say it.
15. On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.
16. I do not regard advertising as entertainment or an art form, but as a medium of information. When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it ‘creative.’ I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product.
17. The headline is the ‘ticket on the meat.’ Use it to flag down readers who are prospects for the kind of product you are advertising.
18. The hallmarks of a potentially successful copywriter include: Obsessive curiosity about products, people and advertising. A sense of humor. A habit of hard work. The ability to write interesting prose for printed media, and natural dialogue for television. The ability to think visually. Television commercials depend more on pictures than words. The ambition to write better campaigns than anyone has ever written before.
19. Some copywriters write tricky headlines – double meanings, puns and other obscurities. This is counter-productive. In the average newspaper your headline has to compete with 350 others. Readers travel fast through this jungle. Your headline should telegraph what you want to say.
20. Tell your prospective client what your weak points are, before he notices them. This will make you more credible when you boast about your strong points.
21. Never allow two people to do a job which one could do. George Washington observed, ‘Whenever one person is found adequate to the discharge of a duty by close application thereto, it is worse executed by two persons, and scarcely done at all if three or more are employed therein.
22. Advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals.
23. On average, helpful information is read by 75 per cent more people than copy which deals only with the product. This ad told how Rinso gets out stains. It was read and remembered
24. In my experience, committees can criticize, but they cannot create. ‘Search the parks in all your cities You’ll find no statues of committees.
25. I have a theory that the best ads come from personal experience. Some of the good ones I have done have really come out of the real experience of my life, and somehow this has come over as true and valid and persuasive.
26. Good copy can’t be written with tongue in cheek, written just for a living. You’ve got to believe in the product.
27. Big ideas come from the unconscious. This is true in art, in science and in advertising. But your unconscious has to be well informed, or your idea will be irrelevant. Stuff your conscious mind with information, then unhook your rational thought process.
28. The more informative your advertising, the more persuasive it will be.
29. Sound an alarm! Advertising, not deals, builds brands.
30. Consumers still buy products whose advertising promises them value for money, beauty, nutrition, relief from suffering, social status and so on.
31. Concentrate your time, your brains, and your advertising money on your successes. Back your winners, and abandon your losers.
32. 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.
33. The most important word in the vocabulary of advertising is TEST. If you pretest your product with consumers, and pretest your advertising, you will do well in the marketplace.
34. Every advertisement should be thought of as a contribution to the complex symbol which is the brand image.
35. Said Winston Churchill, ‘PERFECTIONISM is spelled PARALYSIS.
36. The pursuit of excellence is less profitable than the pursuit of bigness, but it can be more satisfying.
37. If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.
38. There is no need for advertisements to look like advertisements. If you make them look like editorial pages, you will attract about 50 per cent more readers.
39. If you ever have the good fortune to create a great advertising campaign, you will soon see another agency steal it. This is irritating, but don’t let it worry you; nobody has ever built a brand by imitating somebody else’s advertising.
40. Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it. Look for people who will aim for the remarkable, who will not settle for the routine.
41. What really decides consumers to buy or not to buy is the content of your advertising, not its form.
42. In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you create.
43. You now have to decide what ‘image’ you want for your brand. Image means personality. Products, like people, have personalities, and they can make or break them in the market place.
Can advertising foist an inferior product on the consumer? Bitter experience has taught me that it cannot. On those rare occasions when I have advertised products which consumer tests have found inferior to other products in the same field, the results have been disastrous.