Sunday, February 5, 2017

Review of Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy

Ogilvy on Advertising was published in 1985, and David Ogilvy pounds the table that long, verbose copy sells best.

He talks about copy that's 500 words, or even thousands of words, in newspaper and magazine print advertisements. As an example, Ogilvy liked the Grand Canyon Battle ads written for the Sierra Club by Howard Gosage. Overall, he thought advertisements should be hard to distinguish from the content that surrounded them.

Yet you don't see much copy like that anymore. Are people too illiterate or too low attention span? Or is advertising more like fashion, where the important thing is to be a status signal, which results in constant change?



CP said...

Pesendorfer could not fathom why anyone would pay a premium for an expensive fashionable item when a less costly, less fashionable item would serve a similar functional purpose unless there was an overriding social demand to do so, which was his primary supporting argument for the pricey fashion items exhibited by high types.

With the aid of their signaling fashions, high types match with high types and low types with each other, reaching an equilibrium state... Nevertheless, equilibrium is temporary and can be disrupted particularly when a fashion item suffers degradation in its ability to clearly signal type. This may happen if too many low types begin wearing high-type fashions.

- Changing Fashion: A Critical Introduction to Trend Analysis and Cultural Meaning
By Annette Lynch, Mitchell Strauss (p 134)

CP said...

. Between June 9, 1966, and April 16, 1967, the Sierra Club placed four full-page ads in The New York Times (some of them were repeated in many other newspapers and magazines) to carry forward the battle to keep dams out of the Grand Canyon.
The first of the series was extraordinary in two ways. It was a split run -- something the Times had never undertaken before in its daily paper. Half of the June 9 copies of the Times contained my relatively quiet open letter to Secretary Udall, asking him to help save Grand Canyon and asking the public to speak up, too. It contained one coupon, addressed to the Sierra Club.

The other version was professionally written, for the most part by Jerry Mander, of the firm of Freeman and Gossage in San Francisco, and it outpulled the amateur ad by about three to two. It contained seven coupons, to be filled in and mailed if the reader could not find time to write individual letters.

ADL said...

I'm not sure I'd say fashion so much as novelty (though maybe that's a distinction without a difference): whatever works for a while becomes (allegedly) expected and so (allegedly) works less well. Add to that the evergreen adage that nobody knows anything, and you have a recipe for flux in advertising formats.

MidWest said...

Kind of funny to come across this the same day I'm reading about a hot IPO from a down parka... designer(?) -- um, I assume the manufacturing is contracted out, or maybe not -- in the New Yorker.

Oh, I get it now, CNBC has the skinny... Bain Capital invested in 2013, presumably did their 1 and only play, $278M in debt on $27M in profits last year (US or Canadian??), and now needs their equity event.

At risk of getting really cynical, sounds like the typical 3rd generation story: no interest in running the company g-pa founded, just want to spend the money.