Ogilvy on Advertising

Confessions of an Advertising Man is an influential book by David Ogilvy. It’s regarded as necessary reading in numerous advertising classes within the United States. Like its contemporary colleague James B. Simpson, who wrote The Ad Men, it is widely considered essential reading for those who are in Advertising or who have had work related to Advertising.

It is generally considered necessary reading for any individual interested in Advertising. Like James Simpson it’s widely regarded as essential for all interested in Advertising. It’s even required reading for a case study in a law school or for one’s Masters Degree in Advertising. In fact, it’s so mandatory that if you don’t have it, you may not even be allowed to take an exam for an Advertising License in California. David Ogilvy is so well known within the field of Advertising that his reputation almost preceded him by several years, so much so that his books just about sell out online.

What is unique about this particular book is that, well, it’s actually just about Advertising. There is no theory in here, there is nothing innovative, or even original, in here. It’s just a book about principles, like the rules we all follow when we do things. In short, it’s a book on doing things the right way. Just as the old adage says, “form follows function,” in this instance it follows the rules of Advertising.


If you think of it in this way, and are willing to follow the rules, you can achieve a higher level of success with your Marketing or Ad-writing efforts. The book starts off by examining what makes a successful ad and then goes into the details of copywriting. It includes a number of great case studies, and it explains many of the marketing tools used today

There are four major lessons that Ogilvy on Advertising tries to deliver. Number one is that people respond very well to change. In fact, if they don’t know what it is that you are selling, they will not know how to respond to it. People respond positively to being informed. Therefore, if you want to succeed, you have to keep your product or service updated, and tell your customers why they need it.

Number two is to use imagery. One of the biggest mistakes made in an ad-writing is using descriptive words like “stylish,” or “modern.” These words don’t clue in your customers in to the message that you are trying to get across. You must instead use images that give a better picture of the product or service you are offering.

Number three is to avoid the “isn’t” word. If you are writing about something that has happened recently in your life, don’t say, “This was such a great thing…” this could put some customers off. Instead, talk about the particular circumstances, and how the event impacted you. Doing this puts you in a much more positive position with your customer, and shows them that you are someone who is aware of their situation and cares about their feelings.

Number four is to pick a friendly tone. Don’t be critical of your customers. Be sure that you are providing them with genuine kindness as you are going over your advertising. When you do this, you will create a connection that will lead to more sales than you thought possible.

Number five is to make sure that your tagline is clear. When your potential customer sees your tagline and they know what your business offers, they will be more inclined to call. The taglines are what will draw them in to your business. If you can, have more than one. This makes your ad more enticing to those who may not have even realized that your business exists.

Number six, of course, is the most important part of your Ad-ring and it’s the most obvious: your call to action. Make sure that your call to action is concise, clear, and easy to follow. It doesn’t matter what type of advertising you’re doing, as long as your ad gives people the right information that they need to act on.


There are many other steps that you can take when it comes to your online or offline advertising. Some of the most successful businesses out there utilize all of the above. It is just a matter of finding the ones that work best for you.

Just keep in mind that your success will depend greatly on your ability to be consistent and repeatable in whatever you do.