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Book Review: Ogilvy on Advertising (still going)

Ogilvy on Advertising
Author: David Ogilvy
Paperback: 224 pages, $24.95
Published: 1983


Ok, ok I’ll finish this already. I’m going to conclude with Ogilvy’s 18 Miracles of Research, his 13 predictions, and lastly I’ll sum up his chapter on what’s wrong with advertising. Ya ready for me?

Ogilvy states that any advertising agency that ignores research is putting themselves in a dangerous place. Here are his eighteen miracles of research:

  1. Measures your reputation among different categories of consumers
  2. Estimates sales of new product versus marketing costs
  3. Determine consumer reaction to a new product before conception
  4. Rate consumers’ reactions to the product
  5. Tells you what appeals to consumers, ie. color, scent…
  6. Determine what package design sells best
  7. Decides best positioning
  8. Defines target audience
  9. Find purchasing factors and vocabulary
  10. Determine best line extension
  11. Warns you when consumers find product less desirable
  12. Reads competitor’s test markets
  13. Determine most persuasive promise
  14. Determine best premiums
  15. Tells you if ad communicates correctly
  16. Tells you which TV commercial will sell better
  17. Determines readership
  18. Settles arguments

I found Ogilvy’s predictions to be the most interesting part of the book. Here they are in order:

  1. Research quality will improve and creative people will use it to improve sales (True)
  2. A print advertising renaissance (He didn’t know about the internet, oops.)
  3. More info, less “hot air” (Yep, he hit the nail on the head here.)
  4. “Billboards will be abolished” (Hmm, not in Reno!)
  5. Commercials cluttering TV and radio will be controlled (I wish.)
  6. Increased government advertising for education in health (Yep)
  7. Population control through advertising (What?)
  8. “Candidates for political office will stop using dishonest advertising” (Wouldn’t that be nice.)
  9. Overseas advertising will improve
  10. Foreign agencies will come to the US and prosper (Aren’t we outsourcing instead? That must be what he meant.)
  11. Multinational agencies will respect cultural differences (That would be really nice and then we’d have world peace.)
  12. Direct response will fold into general advertising
  13. TV commercials will cost less (Not quite.)

Ok, so what’s wrong with advertising? Besides the beneficial changes that haven’t yet happened from Ogilvy’s predictions, all advertisers are vulgar, insincere, evildoers who spread “intellectual and moral pollution” thus duping the American people and manipulating drivers off the road with billboards wreaking of corruption and leading to economic waste.

That’s funny because companies like Proctor and Gamble spend more than $600,000,000 a year on advertising and like many other companies they believe advertising is the fundamental way to reach the consumer, not to manipulate them, but to educate them on their choices of different products. According to Ogilvy, “Apart from political advertising, which is flagrantly dishonest, advertising is now far more honest than consumers realize.”

The End

P.S. It’s a Tasmanian devil, cute huh?

Max Speed

If the Pole Position Marketing team had a muse—and it does—it would be Max Speed. We love Max’s occasionally off-color, usually amusing and always pointed “Maxisms.” (Maybe “Maxims” would be a better word.) Max gives voice to some of the things we think but, bound by professional decorum, aren’t permitted to say. At least, not out loud.

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