David Ogilvy (1911 – 1999) is one of the biggest legends in the advertising business.
Known as ‘the father of advertising’ Ogilvy worked for advertising agencies in both London and New York – he was equally successful in both countries.
During the second world war he even helped the British Intelligence Service with their communication strategies. Which is one of the things that I find most fascinating.
Who knew that national security and marketing could mix together when a country is in peril?
One of the other things that fascinates me about Ogilvy is his early life. His first real adult job was as a door to door salesman.
Can you imagine the advertising executives of today doing that? Not a desirable role at all, and one that many couldn’t do.
(My copy of Ogilvy on Advertising – a fantastic & engaging read)
But, yeah – Ogilvy learnt how to sell by going door-to-door. He learnt about real people. What they liked, what they responded to and what worked when it came to closing the deal.
And, for those of us who want to use our creativity to sell things, it’s an important lesson to learn.
As creatives and arty types we won’t always have as much in common with the average joe.
So it’s important for us to keep ourselves grounded and to keep ourselves in touch with the public.
Something that catches our interest might not bother Jim next-door. And vice-versa.
When he was young Ogilvy sold cookers. He was phenomenally successful at it. In fact he was so successful that the first book he ever published was a manual on selling cookers.
I found it online and I’ll include a link to it below – it’s a fascinating read. Although, unfortunately, in terms of the language used, it’s a bit of a product of its time.
“The good salesman combines the tenacity of a
bulldog with the manners of a spaniel. If you have
any charm, ooze it.” – David Ogilvy
“The Theory and Practice of Selling the AGA cooker”