David Ogilvy’s Guide To Writing Ads Explained Part 26

Element 26 in Ogilvy’s ad is closely linked with element 25. It’s also the shortest element in the whole ad, but it still needs to be said.

In element 25 we’re told that if a headline includes the brand and a promise, it will do better than those that don’t.

Whilst that makes complete sense (and helps Ogilvy stand out as a guru to anyone looking into hiring his agency), it’s not always true.

A recent test from the founder of Thrive Themes used a headline that consisted only of part of a testimonial. It beat the control (which followed the conventional rules).

These sort of results keep me grounded. Whilst there’s advice everywhere on what works and what doesn’t, it’s vital to keep in mind that sometimes the unconventional wins (and when it does it can win in a massive way – think viral).

It’s the same with revolutions. Most are crushed on the spot, but those that make it, change everything.

So what is element 26? It’s simply this: make your headline promise a benefit. Here’s an example:

None benefit promise: “Make 8 figures”.

Benefit promise: “Make 8 figures and retire”.

One thing to note about benefits. Features on their own can be just as beneficial to some people. And some benefits can be meaningless to others (retiring is not a benefit if you’re already retired).

Now add the brand to the headline and you have combined both elements: “Make 8 figures and retire with Quentin Pain” – only kidding, who wants to make 8 figures. 12 figures is the new 8 figures.

For extra brownie points, who do you think will become the world’s first trillionaire?

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