Communicate To Persuade Your Professors: Legendary Mantras From David Ogilvy

They say if you want to be an expert professional, better learn from those who have already excelled in your field. And when it comes to marketing and advertising, no one can be a better mentor than the ‘Father of Advertising’, as David Ogilvy is referred to by the researchers. In 1962, the Time magazine labelled Ogilvy as the most important personality in the field of international advertising.

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What made Ogilvy such a successful figure? We have analysed his works and philosophies and figured out the fundamentals of marketing that you can too apply to your essay writing process. But before that let us go through his life, upbringing and his travel to the United States, which played an important role behind his success.

David Ogilvy: the beginning

Ogilvy, an Englishman in origin was born on 23 June 1911 at West Horsley. He completed his formal education at Fettes College and then he went to Oxford- later leaving the place without completing his graduation.  He then moved to Paris, France to work at a kitchen (of Hotel Majestic). There he learned an important lesson that he had shared with the world later in his life. He said that knowing when to move away from a particular scenario is an art, which must be developed for the overall welfare and success of any being. After completing his course in Paris, he returned to England where he earned his livelihood selling cooking stoves. He relied on door-to-door sales for getting his work done. Ogilvy’s fortune changed when he migrated to the USA in 1938. 10 years later, in 1948, Ogilvy attempted to make his mark by founding ‘Hewitt, Ogilvy, Benson and Mather’ (later came to be known as ‘Ogilvy and Mather’), an advertising agency based in New York.

Achievements of the Ad Man

Those who knew David called him the ‘original mad man’ who can go far from his comfort zone for making his campaigns successful. Among the assignments that he worked on; as the chairperson of ‘Ogilvy & Mather’ included Lever Brothers, American Express, General Foods, Shell and many more big companies such as the Rolls Royce. Over his course as a professional advertiser, Ogilvy received numerous international recognitions. He was made a commander of the British Empire in 1967, based on his extensive contribution to the field of advertising. The ad man was also included to the US Advertising Hall of Fame and the French Order of Arts and Letters in 1977 and 1990, respectively.

Teachings of the pioneer  

Over the years during the reign of David Ogilvy, he had commented on different advertising and marketing aspects. Those advices were considered extremely valuable during that time. Even today, when the advertising world has changed largely, modern advertisers refer to Ogilvy and his teachings for preparing successful campaigns. In short, Ogilvy’s teachings are timeless and students can take advantage from his wisdom.

Here we discuss the teachings of David Ogilvy that you can implement in your career as well.

  • On creating content

In most cases, copywriters aim to connect to a large group of audience through a single piece of document. According to Ogilvy, this mistake can affect your sales. Ogilvy stated that when reading a document, the reader is all alone and it is the writer’s sole responsibility to be private with the audience. He must be talking to the latter personally, which increases the chances of sales.

David Ogilvy had written a memo for all the advertising executives at the different global branches of his company. There he pointed out the fundamentals that a copywriter must keep in mind before creating marketing content. They are:

  • Recognise the audience
  • Figure out the way your customer thinks
  • Find out what he desires
  • On presentation

Ogilvy was a great advertiser because he understood how to present his ad copies. David emphasised on the importance of a headline for making a story attractive. He said that a person is five times more likely to decide whether to buy a product just by reading its headline as compared to reading the entire body. In the busiest century in history (21st), this insight from the father of marketing cannot be avoided if you want to gain customer attention.

Here are few headlines written by Ogilvy during his lifetime:

  • At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls Royce comes from the electric clock
  • How to tour the USA for £35 a week
  • It’s a mutiny to mix a Gin and Tonic without Schweppes!
  • On persuasion

Ogilvy states that persuading your customer is largely dependent on the words and language you use for writing your ad copy. He preferred to research the various aspects of his client base on how they talked and what they talked, which enabled Ogilvy to connect better with them and in the end, make a sale. You can too, use certain terminologies to attract your professor and prove your assignment to be relevant to your education program. According to David, there are certain fundamentals that a copywriter must keep in mind for mastering the art of persuasion. They are:

  • Extensive research about the customer’s preference
  • Information strengthens the chances of persuasion
  • Answer questions that none of your competitors one answer
  • Make the ad copy look less like one. Instead, make it look more like an editorial. This will lead the reader to stop and read the document.

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During his course as an advertising professional, David Ogilvy had played an important role behind the success of different brands that have later gained popularity on the world stage. We hope these evergreen insights from the greatest advertiser of all time will be helpful. The next time you are working on your MBA assignments, use the wisdom for persuading your professor to offer you better grades.   Always remember the following statement,

If you can’t advertise yourself, what hope do you have of advertising anything else?

– David Ogilvy