David Ogilvy’s Guide To Writing Ads Explained Part 16

Element 16 of David Ogilvy’s epic 1960s ad (designed with the sole purpose of positioning his billion dollar agency as the best on the planet) is the first element that goes over the top.

It’s not so much that he breaks some fundamental copywriting rules, it’s that he crushes them with his boots, then kicks them into the dirt without a care in the world.

The first of these transgressions is his use of the pseudo word “logorrhea” (and just in case we don’t get the point, he lets us know it “rhymes with diarrhea”). He has to do this because no one has a clue what he’s talking about (it truly is diarrhea).

The second transgression is his claim that ads are becoming far too wordy (says the man whose ad we’re reading contains nothing but words – 2000+ of them).

And the third transgression is that it’s possible to sell stuff with images alone and without a single word being said (says the man whose wordy ad does not contain a single image).

But fair enough, he’s still talking about TV advertising, and regardless of the many contradictions, people took notice and paid him more money.

As to his claim about wordless ads, despite much research, I’ve yet to uncover a single ad from Ogilvy that didn’t use words, so this element is best forgotten (if it did work, it was a short lived fad – and obviously failed to make any money – watch the video to see the contradiction).

Incidentally, if you want to get a flavour of what he was like (in sales mode), take a look at this (the intro alone is worth it for the lolz).


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