David Ogilvy’s Guide To Writing Ads Explained Part 15

In the late 19th century, a French dramatist named Jean Jullien coined a new phrase: “slice of life”. Anyone into drama or theatre production knew what it meant.

In the early 1960s, people in charge of big advertising budgets also knew what it meant. They were pouring out mini ‘slice of life’ TV ads by the dozen.

Ogilvy admitted they were corny, but said “so what – they’re selling more hot cakes than ever. If you thought sliced bread was good, you ain’t seen nothing yet” (I might just have paraphrased that a bit…).

Copywriters are using them today just as much as they ever did. They’re just not called slice of life anymore (the anime world seems to have adopted that phrase instead).

The irony back in the 1960s was that Ogilvy accused men of undervaluing their wives (“your wife is not a moron”), then implied we’re all morons for believing in corny slice of life TV ads.

Whether he was right or wrong, they are still working today (albeit in a satirical way). Here’s an example from McDonalds:

What’s the corniest ad you’ve ever seen?



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