Posts Tagged ‘media’

British-born David Ogilvy was one of the original, and greatest, “ad men.” In 1948, he started what would eventually be known as Ogilvy & Mather, the Manhattan-based advertising agency that has since been responsible for some of the world’s most iconic ad campaigns, and in 1963 he even wrote Confessions of an Advertising Man, the best-selling book that is still to this day considered essential reading for all who enter the industry. Time magazine called him “the most sought-after wizard in today’s advertising industry” in the early-’60s; his name, and that of his agency, have been mentioned more than once in Mad Men for good reason.

With all that in mind, being able to learn of his routine when producing the very ads that made his name is an invaluable opportunity. The fascinating letter below, written by Ogilvy in 1955 to a Mr. Ray Calt, offers exactly that.

(Source: The Unpublished David Ogilvy: A Selection of His Writings from the Files of His Partners; Image: David Ogilvy, courtesy of Ads of the World.)

April 19, 1955

Dear Mr. Calt:

On March 22nd you wrote to me asking for some notes on my work habits as a copywriter. They are appalling, as you are about to see:

1. I have never written an advertisement in the office. Too many interruptions. I do all my writing at home.

2. I spend a long time studying the precedents. I look at every advertisement which has appeared for competing products during the past 20 years.

3. I am helpless without research material—and the more “motivational” the better.

4. I write out a definition of the problem and a statement of the purpose which I wish the campaign to achieve. Then I go no further until the statement and its principles have been accepted by the client.

5. Before actually writing the copy, I write down ever concievable fact and selling idea. Then I get them organized and relate them to research and the copy platform.

6. Then I write the headline. As a matter of fact I try to write 20 alternative headlines for every advertisement. And I never select the final headline without asking the opinion of other people in the agency. In some cases I seek the help of the research department and get them to do a split-run on a battery of headlines.

7. At this point I can no longer postpone the actual copy. So I go home and sit down at my desk. I find myself entirely without ideas. I get bad-tempered. If my wife comes into the room I growl at her. (This has gotten worse since I gave up smoking.)

8. I am terrified of producing a lousy advertisement. This causes me to throw away the first 20 attempts.

9. If all else fails, I drink half a bottle of rum and play a Handel oratorio on the gramophone. This generally produces an uncontrollable gush of copy.

10. The next morning I get up early and edit the gush.

11. Then I take the train to New York and my secretary types a draft. (I cannot type, which is very inconvenient.)

12. I am a lousy copywriter, but I am a good editor. So I go to work editing my own draft. After four or five editings, it looks good enough to show to the client. If the client changes the copy, I get angry—because I took a lot of trouble writing it, and what I wrote I wrote on purpose.

Altogether it is a slow and laborious business. I understand that some copywriters have much greater facility.

Yours sincerely,


Much respect.

Whoever said the meet would inherit the earth was wrong. In the brave new digital world we live in, the GEEK shall inherit the earth.
When Graeme Anthony, a digital PR guy, decided to move to London with his Mrs, he thought of taking a different approach to applying for a new job.
He made a C.V.I.V or a Curriculum Vitae Interactive Video. This video is nothing but a reasonably well produced video with some creative use of Youtube annotations, but it works extremely well to showcase his skills and differentiate him from the rest of the market. Well done Graeme!
P.S: A video resume is something that was on my mind for a while. Now that someone else has beat me to making it and internet fame, looks like I’ll have to make one using augmented reality! 🙂
P.P.S: Check out this article on PR Week where heavy praise has been showered on Graeme by one of the industry bigwigs:…

After plugging a hole in the Times of India front page last year for the launch of the Polo (which incidentally reminded me more of the mint), we see yet another expensive print media innovation from Volkswagen. Today’s ToI has a special supplement with the Volkswagen Vento ad on the last page. This ad contains a small speaker with a sensor that plays a voiceover only when you open up the folded newspaper. While I laud Volkswagen for being bold enough to experiment with innovations time and again, I wonder whether this mega expensive exercise was the right way to go about for the launch. Don’t get me wrong. It made me notice the ad and I’m blogging about it. But what I am getting at is the issue of relevance – whether Volkswagen was the right fit for this innovation.
The audio track played on the speaker is nothing but a plain VoiceOver which adds zero value to the advertisement. There is nothing that the audio can tell me which I can’t already take in from reading the Ad. This type of media innovation would have been more suited for a brand which has an established jingle/theme (eg. Airtel) or for one where audio is an essential component of the product being advertised. (maybe the music release of a film w one surefire hit song playing as a sample)
In my opinion, the perfect candidate for this print innovation at this time would be KBC 4. On the launch date, they could take out a full page ad with the famous theme music playing when the consumer opens the newspaper!
The fault in this case lies with the agency. In their quest to generate maximum ‘award-worthy’ work, agencies often end up shortchanging the client by preferring gimmicks over effectiveness. I am proud to say that in my four years at agencies, my team can never be accused of the above.
The agency concerned here may get it’s Emvies nomination, but as far as I am concerned, this exercise is a wonderful opportunity lost to do something really groundbreaking. (Pls excuse any typos. Sending this post from my phone)