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In this guide, the once considered father of modern advertisement uncovers his secrets to a successful advertisement.
David Ogilvy, the father of modern advertisement, started off as a young chef at the Hotel Majestic in Paris. He worked sixty-three hours a week with thirty-seven other chefs under the management of the perfectionist monsieur Pitard who ruled with an iron rod. Pitard was one of the main shaping factors of David’s management process, who went on to set the example of balanced involvement and perfection. David Ogilvy did not earn his title “The Father of Modern Advertisement” before working as a door-to-door salesman, a social worker in the Edinburgh slums, and an associate researcher of Dr. Gallup. In 1948 Ogilvy had founded his advertisement agency Ogilvy & Mather, and by 1962 it had greater revenues than the revenue of Her Majesty’s Government. In this book, or guide to be more specific, he confesses his secrets.
Chapter 1: “How to Manage an Agency”
In this chapter the author tackles the issue of insecure managers, and what is to be expected from both the employee and the manager. He refers to managing advertising agencies as: “managing any other creative organization – a research laboratory, a magazine, an architect’s office, or a great kitchen.”
“This is a new agency, struggling for its life,have not” he wrote as he started the 2nd chapter on “How to Get Clients”. “For some time we shall be overworked” he continues “and underpaid”. It’s important for new establishments to escape obscurity and Ogilvy did so by four main steps:
- Inviting ten reporters from an advertising trade press to lunch and spoke of his insane ambition and starting off from scratch.
- Following Edward L. Bernay’s advice to make no more than two speeches a year.
- Making friends with men whose jobs brought them in contact with major advertisers.
- Sending progress reports to people in every walk of life.
He weighs in on his self-advertisement tactics by writing: “Gentle reader, if you are shocked by these confessions of self-advertisement, I can only plead that if I had behaved in a more professional way, it would have taken me twenty years to arrive.”
Chapter 3: “How to Keep Your Clients” the author sets four rules for his employees:
- Devote your best employees to your clients instead of diverting them to new employees not have learned your style yet.
- Avoid hiring unstable, quarrelsome executives.
- Avoid taking on clients who have a record of firing their agencies at frequent intervals.
- Keep in contact with your clients at all levels.
He later emphasizes the importance of admitting your mistakes before you are charged with them and maintaining a good relationship with the clients will make it easier to deal with mistakes.
In the 5th chapter “How to Be a Good Client”, he offers tips to future clients through previous experiences, and in the 6th chapter he writes on “How to Build Great Campaigns” based on research and experience. The remaining chapters target illustrated and television advertisement, and focus on food and tourism campaigns. He ends his book by offering advice to the young aiming to rise to the top of the pyramid.
Ogilvy is quite generous in offering his experiences as supporting evidence of his advice in many advertising fields, everywhere from tourism to coffee advertisement, which makes it easier for the reader to relate to his advice. I have personally learned the value of employee-costumer relations for a successful outcome. As well as the importance of taking responsibility for mistakes in the workforce instead of playing the blame game. Nevertheless, it’s important for the reader to remember that this book was written in different times and some notes may no longer apply nor level up to today’s social standards.