David Ogilvy’s Guide To Writing Ads Explained Part 30

David Ogilvy’s 1960s ad “How to create advertising that sells” contains 4 columns of densely typed text.

There are no images, just the headline, the body copy (2000+ words covering 38 numbered bullet points), and a small branding element at the end with a coy message that tells the reader there’s more but “…this special information is revealed only to the clients of Ogilvy & Mather”.

No one is going to waste their time reading through 2000+ words of block text unless they have a very good reason, and that reason is explained in the headline:

To paraphrase: “If you want to know how to create advertising that sells, you’d better read this.”

The headline doesn’t say “38 ways to create advertising that sells” (which is how we might write it today), Ogilvy is cleverer than that, he promises to reveal THE way to create advertising that sells (then tells us at the end: “but there’s more…”).

Element 30, which is where we’ve got to so far in this series, is at the top of the fourth and final column. It says this – localised headings work better for local advertising. For example: “Designer Shoe Sale. London. Today”.

Compare that to the non-localised version: “Designer Shoe Sale. Today”. Enough said.

If you owned a chain of shops, wanted a better return on your ad spend, and had just read this bullet point, you’d know you’ve just been given the keys to the kingdom. Rock on Ogilvy.

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