I think it’s rare that you can truly say that a book you have read has changed your life, but I read one book that did just that. And I am not talking religious or self help, but a book on advertising. Back in 1984 when I was an advertising student I invested £6.95 in a copy of Ogilvy on Advertising.
The exact same copy sits on my desk as I type and has never left my side. David Ogilvy is truly a goliath of the advertising world; born in England he headed to the USA in 1949 and founded an agency, which became the globe spanning Ogilvy and Mather.
How did this book change my life? It made me realise that above and beyond anything in business, I am a sales man. As a result, I have spent the last 25 years selling and still quote lines from Ogilvy on Advertising to this day.
If you are involved in, or hope to be involved in, advertising, selling, marketing, I don’t care what sector, you simply have to read this book. Within its pages you not only have the chance to learn about one of the most glorious careers in advertising as David Ogilvy goes from researcher, to copywriter, to agency owner and industry guru, but on every page there are also gems of knowledge and guidance for any sales practitioner.
Each of the chapters is peppered with real advertising examples from some of the biggest brands in the world. Some of the ads may look dated but Ogilvy explains why each one works and why the same techniques would, and still do, work today. He also tells us how to produce advertising that sells, how to get a job in advertising and how to approach business to business advertising.
This book is so much more than one of the ‘advertising top tips’ pamphlets that are sprayed across any book shop’s shelves. Ogilvy goes into business management with his own experiences of how to run an agency and how to win business. And even if you do not ‘do advertising’, Ogilvy covers other channels such as television, radio and direct mail.
25 years on, Ogilvy is still bang up to date and explains on page 170 why you should not cut back your advertising budget during a recession.
If you only read one book on advertising, make sure it’s this one – it may just change your life.
A guide which explains how to create advertising that works, how to run an agency, how to write successful copy, and what the future holds for the advertising industry. The book was written some time ago, however, the principles are still relevant today.
In 1948, David Ogilvy founded the agency that would become Ogilvy & Mather. Starting with no clients and a staff of two, he built his company into one of the eight largest advertising networks in the world. He wrote three books about the basic principles of modern advertising: Confessions of an Advertising Man, Blood, Brains & Beer and Ogilvy on Advertising. Sadly, he died in 1999.