Big Ideas!

“That’s what the advertising business is all about: Big Ideas”

How does an advertisement catch your attention? The answer is simple. An advertisement usually catches your attention because it’s interesting. David Oglivy was a legend in the advertising world and known best as “The Father of Advertising.” He was able to make even the simplest, and arguably the most boring products, come to life. He once said, “Tell the truth, but make the truth fascinating. You know, you can’t bore people into buying your product, you can only interest them in buying it.”

As a novice in the advertising business, Oglivy discovered the impact of direct advertising which he later called his “Secret Weapon.” In his early advertising days, Oglivy was challenged to advertise the opening of a new hotel. With $500 and an ambitious attitude, he bought postcards and sent invitations to everyone he found in the local telephone directory making for a successful opening for the hotel. His ambition was admirable and a trait that all advertising agents should possess. Oglivy stated, “It’s the lack of ambition that cripples most people.” He never settled for average. His goal was to hit the ball out of the park and create the best advertising campaigns that anyone had ever seen.

“If you can’t advertise yourself, what hope do you have to advertise anything else?”

Oglivy incorporated singularity (now known as unique selling perspective) which he defined as a bur that will hook onto the consumers’ mind. In order to do this, he created an appealing story for his advertisement. His philosophy was, the more “story” there was in a picture, the more people would look at your ad. He used this technique in his Hathaway campaign which lasted 19 years. In marketing, the ideas you create determine the success of your campaign. Although Oglivy claimed to have had only 10 great advertising ideas, he was one of the most successful advertisers in business. In fact, his book Confessions of an Advertising Man is a best seller in 13 languages and still a required reading in many business schools across the world. It’s truly amazing the lasting impact he had on the advertising world.

Helpful tips from David Oglivy:


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