Wednesday, August 05, 2009


David Ogilvy was quite likely the finest advertising copywriter in history. I had the great privilege of working with DO during my years as a creative director with his agency, Ogilvy & Mather International. Along the way, I made note of some of his memorable sayings and aphorisms. Here are just a few of his shrewd and often humourous "Ogilvyisms:"

Tourists do not travel thousands of miles to see things which they can see next door. For example, people who live in Switzerland cannot be persuaded to travel five thousand miles to see the mountains in Colorado. Advertise whatever is unique [to each particular audience.]
[Excerpted from Confessions of an Advertising Man]

When people aren't having any fun, they seldom produce good work. Kill grimness with laughter. Encourage exuberance. Get rid of sad dogs that spread gloom.
[D.O.'s talk to McKinsey & Company, February 1972]
If you tell lies about a product, you will be found out by the Government, which will prosecute you, or by the consumer, who will punish you by not buying your product a second time.
[Excerpted from Confessions of an Advertising Man]
Give people a taste of Old Crow, and tell them it's Old Crow. Then give them another taste of Old Crow, but tell them it's Jack Daniel's. Ask them which they prefer. They'll think the two drinks are quite different. They are tasting [mental]images.
[from Ogilvy on Advertising]
"If you always hire people who are smaller than you are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. If, on the other hand, you always hire people who are bigger than you are, we shall become a company of giants."
[from Ogilvy on Advertising]
"If you ever find a man who is better than you are, hire him. If necessary, pay him more than you pay yourself."
[from Principles of Management]
It has taken more than a hundred scientists two years to find out how to make the product in question: I have been given thirty days to create its personality and plan its launching. If I do my job well, I shall contribute as much as two hundred scientists to the success of this product.
[From Confessions of An Advertising Man]

-- Sidney Allinson.

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