David Ogilvy’s Guide To Writing Ads Explained Part 4

If you’ve been following along and enjoying this series of Ogilvy’s advertising wisdom nuggets, you’ll be glad to hear we’re going the whole nine yards.

Where he only wrote a paragraph or two (and left the rest to the slavering imaginations of his prospects), we’re digging into each of the 38 elements.

At the end he doesn’t leave it there though. He creates an open loop and tells his audience that his billion dollar advertising agency has a lot more secrets hidden up its long sleeves.

He calls those secrets “Special Information”. And explains it’s ONLY available to his clients. But I’m jumping the gun, so let’s get down to today’s guru lesson.

Don’t laugh though, it really is a GURU lesson. This particular one launched a thousand ships, every one of which not only made it to its destination, but made its owners rich too.

And that’s been happening ever since it first came into being (thousands of years before Ogilvy put it into print) – and will continue to dominate thousands of years hence.

It’s also part of a 30 day LIVE bootcamp I’ll be launching on 8th May (the 4th anniversary of this group). But it’s a bootcamp with a very BIG difference. I’ll let you know more about that soon. Meanwhile…

What is this big idea Ogilvy used for element #4? It’s the big idea of the big idea itself. Probably the most important big idea to hit marketing in the history of sales and innovation (that’s a claim – which is why it sounds a bit off – see Part 2 of this series for more info on claims and promises).

Ogilvy says it takes a big idea to “jolt the consumer out of his indifference” (he was speaking to a male dominated advertising world at the time – the TV series Mad Men summed it up nicely till it got repetitive after a couple of seasons).

It’s the same today. If you’ve read this far into this post (thank you) then it’s managed to hold your interest. Do that with your copy and it’s concrete proof it’s based around a big idea (even if you hadn’t given it much thought).

But, Ogilvy tells us, there’s one more thing to know about big ideas: they need to be simple. That’s what makes them big. The simpler they are, the more people ‘get them’. And when they DO get them, they go viral.

That’s not the best bit though. The simpler they are, the longer they last. And that’s what turns the best big ideas into unicorns.

More in part 5 here. Know any big ideas? Let me know in the comments.

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