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Speaking of Ogilvy…

September 12, 2008

I’ve referenced David Ogilvy, the founder of Ogilvy & Mather, a number of times.  His book, Confessions of an Advertising Man, is one of the wittiest and yet most influential books I have read.  I recently ran across a webpage of “Ogilvyisms” — sayings and quotes from David Ogilvy — that I found absolutely fascinating.  So much of what he writes about the advertising business can and should apply directly to real estate.  Here are my selections:

Don’t bunt. Aim out of the ball park. Aim for the company of immortals.

A lot of today’s campaigns are based on optimum positioning but are totally ineffective – because they are dull, or badly constructed, or ineptly written. If nobody reads your advertisement or looks at your commercial, it doesn’t do you much good to have the right positioning.

Most readers look at the photograph first. If you put it in the middle of the page, the reader will start by looking in the middle. Then her eye must go up to read the headline; this doesn’t work, because people have a habit of scanning downwards. However, suppose a few readers do read the headline after seeing the photograph below it. After that, you require them to jump down past the photograph which they have already seen. Not bloody likely.

No sale, no commission. No commission, no eat. That made an impression on me.

We exist to build the business of our clients. The recommendations we make to them should be the recommendations we would make if we owned their companies, without regard to our own short-term interest,” he said. “This earns their respect, which is the greatest asset we can have.

You wouldn’t tell lies to your own wife. Don’t tell them to mine.

We prefer the discipline of knowledge to the anarchy of ignorance. We pursue knowledge the way a pig pursues truffles.

Great hospitals do two things. They look after patients, and they teach young doctors. We look after clients, and we teach young advertising people.

If we hire people who are smaller than we are, we will become a company of dwarfs. If we hire people who are larger than we are, we’ll become a company of giants.

The top man has one principle responsibility – to provide an atmosphere in which creative mavericks can do useful work.

Set exorbitant standards, and give your people hell when they don’t live up to them. There is nothing so demoralizing as a boss who tolerates second rate work.

I can’t stand callow amateurs who aren’t sufficiently interested in the craft of advertising to assume the posture of students.

Training should not be confined to trainees. It should be a continuous process, and should include the entire professional staff of the agency. The more our people learn, the more useful they can be to our clients.

We like people who are honest. Honest in argument, honest with clients, honest with suppliers, honest with the company — and above all, honest with consumers.

Advertising is a business of words, but advertising agencies are infested with men and women who cannot write. They are as helpless as deaf mutes on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera.

It is the inescapable duty of management to fire incompetent people.

The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible.

The more informative your advertising, the more persuasive it will be.

Advertising is a business of words, but advertising agencies are infested with men and women who cannot write. They cannot write advertisements, and they cannot write plans. They are helpless as deaf mutes on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera.

The more prospects you talk to, the more sales you expose yourself to, the more orders you will get. But never mistake quantity of calls for quality of sales-manship.

Always hold your sales meetings in rooms too small for the audience, even if it means holding them in the WC. ‘Standing room only’ creates an atmosphere of success, as in theatres and restaurants, while a half-empty auditorium smells of failure.

I don’t know about you, but these words are like Mentos thrown into the Diet Coke of my brain.

-rsh

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 12, 2008 10:40 am

    Thanks, Rob, for the post that made my day. My personal favorite: The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible.

    Now I must take leave to pursue world domination. Wish me luck.

  2. September 12, 2008 2:27 pm

    Good luck on dominating the world, Kris. Remember me when you get there!

    -rsh

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