Ogilvy on Advertising
by David Ogilvy

10 April 2019

Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy – to master the fundamentals of advertising and the art of selling

Published in 1983, Ogilvy on Advertising, by “the original Mad Man”, the “Father of Advertising”, once “the most sought after wizard in the business,” is an indispensable primer and, to many, the advertising bible.

It focuses on the fundamentals and principles that have stood the test of time. These begin, for Ogilvy, with research. Knowing your client, product and target audience inside-out helps make “the most important decision […] how to position your product.” For, in a world where the differences between products are, in reality, minuscule, “the manufacturer who dedicates his advertising to building the most sharply defined personality for his brand will get the largest share of the market at the highest profit.” And Ogilvy never lets the reader forget that, underneath all the bells and whistles, the point of advertising and branding is: to sell the product.

One of the main criteria Ogilvy applied to his ads was: “could it be used for 30 years?”. Forty years later, it’s evident he applied the same criteria to his book. And anyone looking to master the art of selling, and to understand the history of advertising, would still do well to begin here.

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