If you work in marketing, you will no doubt be familiar with David Ogilvy, an advertising tycoon, founder of Ogilvy & Mather, and known as the “Father of Advertising”. Ogilvy attributed the success of his many famous campaigns to meticulous research into consumer habit. Here are our favourite quotes and best advice.

It takes a big idea to attract the attention of consumers and get them to understand your product. Unless your advertising contains a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night. I doubt if more than one campaign in a hundred contains a big idea.

On creating that “big idea”…

You can do homework from now until doomsday, but you will never win fame and fortune unless you also invent big ideas. It takes a big idea to attract the attention of consumers and get them to buy your product. Unless your advertising campaign contains a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night.

Big ideas come from the unconscious. But your unconscious has to be well informed or your idea will be irrelevant. Stuff your conscious mind with information, then unhook your rational thought process.

It will help you recognise a big idea if you ask yourself five questions;

  1. Did it make me gasp when I first saw it?
  2. Do I wish I had thought of it myself?
  3. Is it unique?
  4. Does it fir the strategy to perfection?
  5. Could it be used for 30 years?

The truth isn’t the truth until people believe you, and they can’t believe you if they don’t know what you’re saying, and they can’t know what you’re saying if they don’t listen to you, and they won’t listen to you if you’re not interesting, and you won’t be interesting unless you say things imaginatively, originally, freshly.

 

“The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible”

 

‘The consumer isn’t a moron. She is your wife”

 

“A good advertisement is one which sells the product without drawing attention to itself”

 

“Our business is infested with idiots who try to impress by using pretentious jargon”

 

“Never write an advertisement which you wouldn’t want your family to read. You wouldn’t tell lies to your own wife. Don’t tell them to mine”

 

“What you say in advertising is more important than how you say it”

 

“Never stop testing and your advertising will never stop improving”