Ogilvy on Advertising

David Ogilvy
Business, Non-Fiction
Pages: 224
Suggested By: Noah Kagan
Date Started: June 2, 2017
Date Finished: June 6, 2017

My Thoughts

There is a lot of confusion about the difference between marketing and advertising. Advertising is a part of marketing. Marketers talk about the 4 P’s of marketing:

  1. Product
  2. Price
  3. Promotion
  4. Place

People generally place advertising within the promotion bucket. It was quite fascinating to see David Ogilvy declare advertising to be of such importance that he considers it to be part of the product itself:

“I have come to regard advertising as part of the product, to be treated as a production cost, not a selling cost. It follows that it should not be cut back when times are hard, and more than you would stint any other essential ingredient in your product.”

You may say that is a good piece of advertising from the “Father of Advertising” himself. You might be correct. But either way, it is interesting to consider.

This was a very practical book covering the basic definition(s) of advertising (by Ogilvy and others):

  • The 1st duty of advertising is to communicate efficiently.
  • Advertising is salesmanship in print.
  • Advertising is the cheapest form of selling.
  • Ads should lead to action.

It also covered lessons learned in Ogilvy’s work with hundreds of companies and his obsession with research. Although written in the early 80’s, this book was just as relevant today. Ogilvy loved direct mail advertising because it could be analyzed for effectiveness. I enjoyed reading about his advice for what makes a good print ad and even learned tidbits like people are 4x as likely to read the caption of a photo as they are the body content of an article. Those photo captions are not just throw-away lines.

This Books of Titans reading list has included some wonderful business books. Book 3 was The 22 Laws of Marketing and book 14 was The Effective Executive. I have two business degrees – an undergrad and graduate degree in international business – and I never once read the two books listed above or Ogilvy on Advertising. These three books are worth more than all of the textbooks I sludged through in college. There is also a great list of suggested advertising books in the back of Ogilvy on Advertising. I bet these would be very helpful to read through in the internet age.

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