Be Interesting or Don’t Advertise


When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it ‘creative.’ I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product.

David Ogilvy –
Ogilvy on Advertising

So you’ve decided that you need to advertise. The media sales rep has just left your office to “work something up” for you. You’re in trouble.

You will either get an ad:
– filled with features, benefits, hours of operation, and address….or
– screaming about some sale, promotion, or wild, limited time offer…..or
– something that some ad wizard at the media outlet has deemed to be “creative.”

Here’s the thing. You’re wasting your money and you shouldn’t be advertising. You’ve got nothing interesting to say that would make people want to buy your product. And it’s because you’re looking at advertising the wrong way. Advertising is not a one night stand. Advertising is courtship.

When you court someone, you have to be interesting. You’re looking for a long-term relationship. The question to ask yourself is “Why would anyone find me interesting?” And not just interesting, interesting enough to go steady with you.

“Unless your advertising contains a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night.”

David Ogilvy calls it the big idea, I call it the ‘pick up line.’ When you’re courting someone, you’re not courting them with facts and figures; features and benefits. Nope, you’re dressing your best, telling interesting stories about yourself that make you sound bigger than life, and making promises about how life will be with you. And that’s the key to the pick-up line.

The secret is that people don’t buy your product, they buy your promise and your image. And that my friends, is branding.

“Every advertisement should be thought of as a contribution to the brand image.”

Before you walk the advertising plank and waste all that money, make sure you have something to say. Go through the branding process. Define your brand promise and craft an image that people find interesting. Then, and only then, should you start using advertising to court customers.

Note: David Ogilvy was one of the greatest minds ever in advertising. If you would like to get more nuggets of gold from “The Father of Advertising,” watch the video below on YouTube. The audio is not the greatest, but the insights are invaluable. The interview is almost an hour long.

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