David Ogilvy’s Guide To Direct Response Advertising Part 19

The final element of Ogilvy’s famous direct response (DR) ad (targeting larger businesses interested in making more money from their advertising) is a tour de force in simplicity.

Bearing in mind how much Ogilvy spent on these ads (a lot), they must have worked spectacularly well. After all, Ogilvy & Mather just grew and grew.

They embody everything he told his audience they should be doing. From the headline: “How direct response advertising can increase your sales and profits” to the final call to action: “To arrange a presentation, please mail the coupon today.”

This was a direct response ad about direct response ads. He tells his audience it doesn’t matter what they sell “from $750,000 jet airplanes to 25c packets of flower seeds” nothing is off limits.

He tells them direct response ads are measurable (so they’ll never need to worry again about which half of their advertising doesn’t work).

He uses science throughout, from complicated looking equations to case study after case study (six of them in all) – and every one a household name.

He never minces his words. Everything is direct, from “How to land your most profitable new customers” to “How to make long copy succeed”, the reader gets it all.

And all of this without a SINGLE testimonial. Of course, that was over 50 years ago, so you’re probably thinking that technique is not going to cut it anymore. But you’d be wrong.

Testimonials are boring. No one reads testimonials simply because they’re interested in how other people are doing. What they want is proof it’s going to work for them. Direct proof.

Ogilvy’s ad ends with this statement: “Results show direct response has increased sales and profits in almost every case”.

He has to use ‘almost’ because nothing is ever 100%. 100% is not believable (one day, even the sun won’t shine, and we can’t be certain of that either, ask Heisenberg).

The key point about direct response is that it’s direct: who it’s aimed at and what it says. The more direct we are, the better we can measure the response. And if we can’t measure the response, it’s just money down the drain.

Next time you’re out there pitching your DR service to prospects, don’t mess around. Get to the point. Show them why it matters. And ask for the sale.

PS. Use testimonials sparingly and only to make a point and back up some proof. People want facts and iron clad guarantees – they’re not going to waste their money on anything else. They need to know the vendor is real, has the best solution, and will be around for long enough to see that solution through.

PPS. If you’re wondering where emotion fits in, it’s in the way you put words together. More on that in the coming weeks. Stay tuned and sign up for the Science of Copywriting Weekly Newsletter delivered every Sunday to your inbox at ScienceOfCopywriting.com


call to action, David Ogilvy, direct response

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