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David Ogilvy

image I am a businessperson and a marketer because I stumbled on a a copy of Ogilvy on Advertising when I was 13. My dad had it in his briefcase on a family car trip. I devoured it, reading again and again. (It also has 3 naked breasts in it. I'm sure that mattered at the time.) 

It should be handed to every entrepreneur on earth. 25 years later, it still influences every word I write.

image So I was thrilled to hear that the first biography of David Ogilvy has been written, by Kenneth Roman. The book is called "The King of Madison Avenue: David Ogilvy and the Making of Modern Advertising" and it's a great read.

You'll love the great Ogilvy stories, and the classic advice that is still helpful. It's also the story of how the advertising business grew up, and it's fascinating. This was an industry full of high-personality statesmen who valued results, ethics, and quality work. I wish we were still having these conversations today.

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  1. David Howse March 15, 2009 at 11:17 am #

    Hi Andy,
    I only ever disagreed with one thing Ogilvy said, “The customer isn’t an idiot, she’s your mother.”
    I think there are a few stupid people out there :-) But the point of respecting customers is rule #1.
    I also loved dropping Ogilvy quotes on my marketing profs. “But Ogilvy said…” always got a good reaction.

  2. Mark Bradford March 15, 2009 at 2:11 pm #

    Marketing and advertising is craving old fashioned quality and integrity. I’ll definitely check it out the book. I think new era social marketing coupled with word-of-mouth techniques will bring “goodness” back to the smaller scrappy marketer.

  3. RBL March 18, 2009 at 7:37 pm #

    Ditto. I keep a copy of Ogilvy on Advertising on my bookshelf at work AND at home. It is also “required reading” among my writers.
    Anyone who reads Ogilvy should also be certain to read Claude Hopkins’ Scientific Advertising (now a downloadable PDF), who was one of Ogilvy’s prime influences (that was the book that flipped my marketing switch on; from there I read OOA).
    Other must-reads for any hire on my team: John Caples’ Tested Advertising Methods, Trout and Ries’s Positioning, Reis’s 22 Immuatble Laws of Marketing, Cappon’s AP Guide to News Writing, and the classic of classics, Strunk & White’s Elements of Style.
    The copywriting practices developed and evangelized by Ogilvy, Hopkins, Caples, etc. decades ago STILL WORK TODAY in virtually all manner of copywriting AND journalism — including blogging.

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