Ogilvy on Advertising

I just finished reading Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy, founder of the legendary Ogilvy & Mather.

This book was first published in 1985 and I didn’t expect to take as many notes while reading it as I did. I thought that it’s lessons might by now be well worn conventional wisdom, but they’re not. The book is packed with fresh insights.

I especially liked this passage on creativity by committee:

“Most campaigns are too complicated. They reflect a long list of objectives, and try to reconcile the divergent views of too many executives. By attempting to cover too many things, they achieve nothing.

Many commercials and many advertisements look like the minutes of a committee. In my experience, committees can criticize, but the cannot create.

‘Search the parks in all your cities,
You’ll find no statues of committees.'”

Last year I hosted a speaking event featuring Rory Sutherland, the Vice Chairman of Ogilvy & Mather. It was brilliant. I didn’t know then the storied history of his firm, but I do now.

I’ve now also ordered David Ogilvy’s Confessions of an Advertising Man to learn more about this remarkably creative, innovative, and productive man.