David Ogilvy’s Guide To Writing Ads Explained Part 35

Of all the elements discussed so far in this series on David Ogilvy’s epic agency ad, element 35 contains the most benefits in the least number of words.

He carries the concept of brevity to its ultimate conclusion – there are no parts in this element you would want to skip (it’s so short, you wouldn’t have the time anyway).

But first the feature – element 35 is the argument that photographs outperform artwork (he adds the caveat “almost invariably” – which kills the argument slightly, but nevertheless, keeps it honest).

What’s interesting is that so much modern software (especially video – eg., explainer videos, doodlers, animated helpers, etc.) are full of drawings and artwork.

And, some of the best performing sales copy I’ve seen in direct marketing contains drawings (and often very rough drawings too – André Chaperon comes to mind – although he swears he’s not a copywriter).

But ultimately Ogilvy’s points are sound. Here are all six of them in just 21 words (that’s just over 3 words per benefit):

Photographs in copy:

1. Attract more readers

2. Generate more appetite appeal

3. Are more believable

4. Are better remembered

5. Pull more coupons

6. And sell more merchandise

PS. Only a couple of the 38 elements contain proof, but when taken together, along with Ogilvy’s short intro and exit blurb, they add up to a whole body of what feels like indisputable evidence.


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