Podcast & Book Reviews

May 9, 2024

Book Review | Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy

Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy

Confessions of an Advertising Man is an insightful deep dive into the world of advertising. Often referred to as the father of modern advertising, Ogilvy’s book is not only a masterclass in advertising, but also provides lessons on getting the best out of one’s employees and building a successful culture.

While the book was first published in 1963, the book is filled with timeless principles that still remain relevant today. His approach was very much driven by in depth research into human behaviours. But it’s his candid wit that shines through as he critiques everything from the industry and also other participants. Each chapter is well thought out and tackles everything from running an advertising agency to how to keep clients to how to build great campaigns.

For anyone looking to sharpen their advertising skills or polish up on sound management principles, this is worth a read. Four of my favourite quotes are below:

  • The function of most advertising is not to persuade people to try your product, but to persuade them to use it more often than other brands in their repertoire.
  • After fourteen years of it, I have come to the conclusion that the top man has one principal responsibility; to provide an atmosphere in which creative mavericks can do useful work.
  • I admire people who work hard, who bite the bullet. I dislike passengers who don't pull their weight in the boat. It is more fun to be overworked than to be underworked. There is an economic factor built into hard work. The harder you work, the fewer employees we need, and the more profit we make.
  • Test everything – test your promise. Test your media. Test your headlines and your illustrations. Test the size of your advertisements. Test your frequency. Test your level of expenditure. Test your commercials. Never stop testing and your advertising will never stop improving.

Link to Book

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