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Ogilvy on Advertising

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First Vintage Books Edition, March 1985 Text copyright © 1983 by David Ogilvy Compilation copyright © 1983 by Multimedia Books Ltd. (Now Prion Books Ltd.) All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. Published in the United States by Random House LLC, New York. Originally published in the United Kingdom by Pan Books Ltd. and Orbis Publishing Ltd. and in the United States by Crown Publishers, Inc., in 1983. A Penguin Random House Company Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Ogilvy, David. 1911– Ogilvy on advertising. Bibliography: p. Includes index. I. Advertising. I. Title. [HF5823.36 1985] 659.1 84-40525 ISBN 0-394-72903-X (pbk.)

eBook ISBN: 978-0-80417005-5 v3.1 Cover design by James K. Davis

Contents Cover Title Page Copyright 1 Overture 2 How to produce advertising that sells 3 Jobs in advertising – and how to get them 4 How to run an advertising agency 5 How to get clients 6 Open letter to a client in search of an agency 7 Wanted: a renaissance in print advertising 8 How to make TV commercials that sell 9 Advertising corporations 10 How to advertise foreign travel 11 The secrets of success in business-to-business advertising 12 Direct mail, my first love and secret weapon 13 Advertising for good causes 14 Competing with Procter & Gamble 15 18 Miracles of research 16 What little I know about marketing 17 Is America still top nation? 18 Lasker, Resor, Rubicam, Burnett, Hopkins and Bernbach 19 What’s wrong with advertising? 20 I predict 13 changes Reading list Index

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1 Overture ‘Let us march against Philip’ do not regard advertising as entertainment or an art form, but as a I medium of information. When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it ‘creative.’ I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product. When Aeschines spoke, they said, ‘How well he speaks.’ But when Demosthenes spoke, they said, ‘Let us march against Philip.’ In my Confessions of an Advertising Man, published in 1963, I told the story of how Ogilvy & Mather came into existence, and set forth the principles on which our early success had been based. What was then little more than a creative boutique in New York has since become one of the four biggest advertising agencies in the world, with 140 offices in 40 countries. Our principles seem to work. But I am now so old that a French magazine lists me as the only survivor among a group of men who, they aver, contributed to the Industrial Revolution – alongside Adam Smith, Edison, Karl Marx, Rockefeller, Ford and Keynes. Does old age disqualify me from writing about advertising in today’s world? Or could it be that perspective helps a man to separate the eternal verities of advertising from its passing fads? When I set up shop on Madison Avenue in 1949, I assumed that advertising would undergo several major changes before I retired. So far, there has been only one change that can be called major: television has emerged as the most potent medium for selling most products. Yes, there have been other changes and I shall describe them, but their significance has been exaggerated by pundits in search of trendy labels. For example, the concept of brand images, which I popularized in 1953,

was not really new; Claude Hopkins had described it 20 years before. The so-called Creative Revolution, usually ascribed to Bill Bernbach and myself in the fifties, could equally well have been ascribed to N. W. Ayer and Young & Rubicam in the thirties. Meanwhile, most of the advertising techniques which worked when I wrote Confessions of an Advertising Man still work today. Consumers still buy products whose advertising promises them value for money, beauty, nutrition, relief from suffering, social status and so on. All over the world. In saying this, I run the risk of being denounced by the idiots who hold that any advertising technique which has been in use for more than two years is ipso facto obsolete. They excoriate slice-of-life commercials, demonstrations and talking heads, turning a blind eye to the fact that these techniques still make the cash register ring. If they have read Horace, they will say that I am difficilis, querulus, laudator temporis acti. 1 Se puero, castigator, censorque minorum. So what? There have always been noisy lunatics on the fringes of the advertising business. Their stock-in-trade includes ethnic humor, eccentric art direction, contempt for research, and their self-proclaimed genius. They are seldom found out, because they gravitate to the kind of clients who, bamboozled by their rhetoric, do not hold them responsible for sales results. Their campaigns find favor at cocktail parties in New York, San Francisco and London but are taken less seriously in Chicago. In the days when I specialized in posh campaigns for The New Yorker, I was the hero of this coterie, but when I graduated to advertising in mass media and wrote a book which extolled the value of research, I became its devil. I comfort myself with the reflection that I have sold more merchandise than all of them put together. I am sometimes attacked for imposing ‘rules.’ Nothing could be further from the truth. I hate rules. All I do is report on how consumers react to different stimuli. I may say to a copywriter, ‘Research shows that commercials with celebrities are below average in persuading people to buy products. Are you sure you want to use a celebrity?’ Call that a rule? Or I may say to an art director, ‘Research suggests that if you set the copy in black type on a white background, more people will read it than if you set it in white type on a black background.’ A hint, perhaps, but scarcely a rule.

In 18th-century England, a family of obstetricians built a huge practice by delivering babies with a lower rate of infant and maternal mortality than their competitors. They had a secret – and guarded it jealously, until an inquisitive medical student climbed onto the roof of their delivering room, looked through the skylight and saw the forceps they had invented. The secret was out, to the benefit of all obstetricians and their patients. Today’s obstetricians do not keep their discoveries secret, they publish them. I am grateful to my partners for allowing me to publish mine. But I should add that the occasional opinions expressed in this book do not necessarily reflect the collegial opinions of the agency which employs me. This is not a book for readers who think they already know all there is to be known about advertising. It is for young hopefuls – and veterans who are still in search of ways to improve their batting average at the cash register. I write only about aspects of advertising I know from my own experience. That is why this book contains nothing about media, cable television or advertising in Japan. If you think it is a lousy book, you should have seen it before my partner Joel Raphaelson did his best to de-louse it. Bless you, Joel. 1 Testy, a grumbler, inclined to praise the way of the world when he was a boy, to play the critic and to be a censor of the new generation.

2 How to produce advertising that sells retend you started work this morning in my agency, and that you P have dropped by my office to ask for advice. I will start with some generalities about how to go about your work. In later chapters I will give you more specific advice on producing advertisements for magazines, newspapers, television and radio. I ask you to forgive me for oversimplifying some complicated subjects, and for the dogmatism of my style – the dogmatism of brevity. We are both in a hurry. The first thing I have to say is that you may not realize the magnitude of difference between one advertisement and another. Says John Caples, the doyen of direct response copywriters: ‘I have seen one advertisement actually sell not twice as much, not three times as much, but 19½ times as much as another. Both advertisements occupied the same space. Both were run in the same publication. Both had photographic illustrations. Both had carefully written copy. The difference was that one used the right appeal and 1 the other used the wrong appeal.’ The wrong advertising can actually reduce the sales of a product. I am told that George Hay Brown, at one time head of marketing research at Ford, inserted advertisements in every other copy of the Reader’s Digest. At the end of the year, the people who had not been exposed to the advertising had bought more Fords than those who had. In another survey it was found that consumption of a certain brand of beer was lower among people who remembered its advertising than those who did not. The brewer had spent millions of dollars on advertising which un-sold his beer. I sometimes wonder if there is a tacit conspiracy among clients, media and agencies to avoid putting advertising to such acid tests. Everyone

involved has a vested interest in prolonging the myth that all advertising increases sales to some degree. It doesn’t. Before I wrote this – the most famous of all automobile ads – I did my homework. It ran only in two newspapers and two magazines, at a cost of $25,000. The following year, Ford based their multi-million dollar campaign on the claim that their car was even quieter than a Rolls. Click here for text. Do your homework You don’t stand a tinker’s chance of producing successful advertising unless you start by doing your homework. I have always found this extremely tedious, but there is no substitute for it. First, study the product you are going to advertise. The more you

know about it, the more likely you are to come up with a big idea for selling it. When I got the Rolls-Royce account, I spent three weeks reading about the car and came across a statement that ‘at sixty miles an hour, the loudest noise comes from the electric clock.’ This became the headline, and it was followed by 607 words of factual copy. Later, when I got the Mercedes account, I sent a team to the Daimler- Benz headquarters in Stuttgart. They spent three weeks taping interviews with the engineers. From this came a campaign of long, factual advertisements which increased Mercedes sales in the United States from 10,000 cars a year to 40,000. When I was asked to do the advertising for Good Luck margarine, I was under the impression that margarine was made from coal. But ten days’ reading enabled me to write a factual advertisement which worked. Same thing with Shell gasoline. A briefing from the client revealed something which came as a surprise to me; that gasoline has several ingredients, including Platformate, which increases mileage. The resulting campaign helped to reverse a seven-year decline in Shell’s share-of-market.

I resigned the Rolls-Royce account when they sent five hundred defective cars to the United States. Two years later we took Mercedes, and sent a team to interview their engineers in Stuttgart. From this sprang a campaign of long factual advertisements which increased sales from 10,000 cars a year to 40,000.

When I got a margarine account, I was under the impression that margarine was made from coal. Ten days reading the literature taught me otherwise. If you are too lazy to do this kind of homework, you may occasionally luck into a successful campaign, but you will run the risk of skidding about on what my brother Francis called ‘the slippery surface of irrelevant brilliance.’ Your next chore is to find out what kind of advertising your competitors have been doing for similar products, and with what success. This will give you your bearings. Now comes research among consumers. Find out how they think about your kind of product, what language they use when they discuss the subject, what attributes are important to them, and what promise would be most likely to make them buy your brand. If you cannot afford the services of professionals to do this research,

do it yourself. Informal conversations with half-a-dozen housewives can sometimes help a copywriter more than formal surveys in which he does not participate. Positioning Now consider how you want to ‘position’ your product. This curious verb is in great favor among marketing experts, but no two of them agree what it means. My own definition is ‘what the product does, and who it is for.’ I could have positioned Dove as a detergent bar for men with dirty hands, but chose instead to position it as a toilet bar for women with dry skin. This is still working 25 years later. I positioned Dove as a toilet bar for women with dry skin, and used a promise which had won in test: ‘Dove creams your skin while you bathe.’ In Norway, the SAAB car had no measurable profile. We positioned it

as a car for winter. Three years later it was voted the best car for Norwegian winters. To advertise a car that looked like an orthopedic boot would have defeated me. But Bill Bernbach and his merry men positioned Volkswagen as a protest against the vulgarity of Detroit cars in those days, thereby making the Beetle a cult among those Americans who eschew conspicuous consumption. Robert Townsend, the eccentric head of Avis, asked me to do his advertising. When conflict with another client forced me to refuse, Doyle Dane Bernbach created one of the most powerful campaigns in the history of advertising. ‘When you’re only Number 2, you try harder. Or else.’ This diabolical positioning made life miserable for Hertz, who was Number 1. Click here for hi-res image.

Doyle Dane Bernbach positioned Volkswagen as a protest against Detroit, thereby making the Beetle a cult among non- conformists. The copywriter was Julian Koenig, the art director Helmut Krone. Sales of the car went up to 500,000 cars a year. Click here for hi-res image and text. Brand image You now have to decide what ‘image’ you want for your brand. Image means personality. Products, like people, have personalities, and they can make or break them in the market place. The personality of a product is an amalgam of many things – its name, its packaging, its price, the style of its advertising, and, above all, the nature of the product itself.

An essay in the art of image-building. For 18 years I used the face of my client Commander Whitehead as the symbol of his own product. It worked to beat the band on a peppercorn budget. Every advertisement should be thought of as a contribution to the brand image. It follows that your advertising should consistently project the same image, year after year. This is difficult to achieve, because there are always forces at work to change the advertising – like a new agency, or a new Marketing Director who wants to make his mark. It pays to give most products an image of quality – a First Class ticket. This is particularly true of products whose brand-name is visible to your friends, like beer, cigarettes and automobiles: products you ‘wear.’ If your advertising looks cheap or shoddy, it will rub off on your product. Who wants to be seen using shoddy products? Take whiskey. Why do some people chose Jack Daniel’s, while others choose Grand Dad or Taylor? Have they tried all three and compared the taste? Don’t make me laugh. The reality is that these three brands have different images which appeal to different kinds of people. It isn’t the whiskey they choose, it’s the image. The brand image is 90 per cent of what the distiller has to sell. Researchers at the Department of Psychology at the University of California gave distilled water to students. They told some of them that it was distilled water, and asked them to describe its taste. Most said it had no taste of any kind. They told the other students that the distilled water came out of the tap. Most of them said it tasted horrible. The mere

mention of tap conjured up an image of chlorine. Give people a taste of Old Crow, and tell them it’s Old Crow. Then give them another taste of Old Crow, but tell them it’s Jack Daniel’s. Ask them which they prefer. They’ll think the two drinks are quite different. They are tasting images. When you choose a brand of whiskey you are choosing an image. Jack Daniel’s advertisements project an image of homespun honesty and thereby persuade you that Jack Daniel’s is worth its premium price. I have always been hypnotized by Jack Daniel’s. The label and the advertising convey an image of homespun honesty, and the high price makes me assume that Jack Daniel’s must be superior. Writing advertising for any kind of liquor is an extremely subtle art. I once tried using rational facts to argue the consumer into choosing a brand of whiskey. It didn’t work. You don’t catch Coca Cola advertising that Coke contains 50 per cent more cola berries.

Leo Burnett’s campaign for Marlboro projects an image which has made it the biggest-selling cigarette in the world. It has been running, almost without change, for 25 years. Next time an apostle of hard-sell questions the importance of brand images, ask him how Marlboro climbed from obscurity to become the biggest-selling cigarette in the world. Leo Burnett’s cowboy campaign, started 25 years ago and continued to this day, has given the brand an image which appeals to smokers all over the world. What’s the big idea? You can do homework from now until doomsday, but you will never win fame and fortune unless you also invent big ideas. It takes a big idea to

attract the attention of consumers and get them to buy your product. Unless your advertising contains a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night. I doubt if more than one campaign in a hundred contains a big idea. I am supposed to be one of the more fertile inventors of big ideas, but in my long career as a copywriter I have not had more than 20, if that. Big ideas come from the unconscious. This is true in art, in science and in advertising. But your unconscious has to be well informed, or your idea will be irrelevant. Stuff your conscious mind with information, then unhook your rational thought process. You can help this process by going for a long walk, or taking a hot bath, or drinking half a pint of claret. Suddenly, if the telephone line from your unconscious is open, a big idea wells up within you. My partner Esty Stowell complained that the first commercial I wrote for Pepperidge Farm bread was sound enough, but lacking in imagery. That night I dreamed of two white horses pulling a baker’s delivery van along a country lane at a smart trot. Today, 27 years later, that horse- drawn van is still driving up that lane in Pepperidge commercials. When asked what was the best asset a man could have, Albert Lasker – the most astute of all advertising men – replied, ‘Humility in the presence of a good idea.’ It is horribly difficult to recognize a good idea. I shudder to think how many I have rejected. Research can’t help you much, because it cannot predict the cumulative value of an idea, and no idea is big unless it will work for thirty years. One of my partners came up with the idea of parading a herd of bulls through Merrill Lynch commercials under the slogan – ‘Merrill Lynch is bullish on America.’ I thought it was dopey, but fortunately it had been approved before I saw it. Those bulls are still parading, long after the account moved to another agency. It will help you recognize a big idea if you ask yourself five questions: 1 Did it make me gasp when I first saw it? 2 Do I wish I had thought of it myself? 3 Is it unique? 4 Does it fit the strategy to perfection? 5 Could it be used for 30 years?

You can count on your fingers the number of advertising campaigns that run even for five years. These are the superstars, the campaigns that go right on producing results through boom and recession, against shifting competitive pressures, and changes of personnel. The Hathaway eyepatch first appeared in 1951 and is still going strong. Every Dove commercial since 1955 has promised that, ‘Dove doesn’t dry your skin the way soap can.’ The American Express commercials, ‘Do you know me?’ have been running since 1975. And Leo Burnett’s Marlboro campaign has been running for 25 years. Sometimes, the best idea of all is to show the product – with utter simplicity. This takes courage, because you will be accused of not being ‘creative.’

Make the product the hero Whenever you can, make the product itself the hero of your advertising. If you think the product too dull, I have news for you: there are no dull products, only dull writers. I never assign a product to a writer unless I know that he is personally interested in it. Every time I have written a bad campaign, it has been because the product did not interest me. To my chagrin, this campaign, which I thought enchanting, created scarcely a ripple. The dog was my briard Crème Brûlée. Judson Irish wrote the dialogue in the style of Alfred Jingle in Pickwick Papers. Click here for hi-res image. A problem which confronts agencies is that so many products are no different from their competitors. Manufacturers have access to the same technology; marketing people use the same research procedures to determine consumer preferences for color, size, design, taste and so on. When faced with selling ‘parity’ products, all you can hope to do is explain their virtues more persuasively than your competitors, and to differentiate them by the style of your advertising. This is the ‘added

value’ which advertising contributes, and I am not sufficiently puritanical to hate myself for it. Good ideas come from the unconscious. The author dreamed about an old baker driving his horse and wagon along a country lane on his way to deliver Pepperidge Farm bread. Twenty-five years later the horse and wagon are still in the commercials. ‘The positively good’ My partner Joel Raphaelson has articulated a feeling which has been growing in my mind for some time: ‘In the past, just about every advertiser has assumed that in order to sell his goods he has to convince consumers that his product is superior to his competitor’s. ‘This may not be necessary. It may be sufficient to convince consumers that your product is positively good. If the consumer feels certain that your product is good and feels uncertain about your competitor’s, he will buy yours. ‘If you and your competitors all make excellent products, don’t try to imply that your product is better. Just say what’s good about your product – and do a clearer, more honest, more informative job of saying it. ‘If this theory is right, sales will swing to the marketer who does the best job of creating confidence that his product is positively good.’

This approach to advertising parity products does not insult the intelligence of consumers. Who can blame you for putting your best foot forward? Repeat your winners If you are lucky enough to write a good advertisement, repeat it until it stops selling. Scores of good advertisements have been discarded before they lost their potency. Research shows that the readership of an advertisement does not decline when it is run several times in the same magazine. Readership remains at the same level throughout at least four repetitions. You aren’t advertising to a standing army; you are advertising to a moving parade. The advertisement which sold a refrigerator to couples who got married last year will probably be just as successful with couples who get married this year. A good advertisement can be thought of as a radar sweep, constantly hunting new prospects as they come into the market. Get a good radar, and keep it sweeping. Henry Ford once said to a copywriter on his account, ‘Bill, that campaign of yours is dandy, but do we have to run it forever?’ To which the copywriter replied, ‘Mr Ford, the campaign has not yet appeared.’ Ford had seen it too often at too many meetings. The best way to settle such arguments is to measure the selling effectiveness of your campaign at regular intervals, and to go on running it until the research shows that it has worn out. Word of mouth It sometimes happens that advertising campaigns enter the culture. Thus the musical theme in a Maxwell House coffee commercial became Number 7 on the hit parade. After Commander Whitehead started appearing in Schweppes advertising, he became a popular participant in talk shows on television. This kind of thing is manna from heaven, but nobody knows how to do it on purpose. At least, I don’t. Fifty years ago attempts were made in England to cultivate word-of- mouth advertising by spreading anecdotes like this one: ‘An old farmer was walking down a road, bent double with

rheumatism. Someone in a Rolls-Royce stopped to speak to him. Told him to take Beecham’s Pills. Do you know who it was? The King’s Doctor!’ Down with committees Most campaigns are too complicated. They reflect a long list of objectives, and try to reconcile the divergent views of too many executives. By attempting to cover too many things, they achieve nothing. Many commercials and many advertisements look like the minutes of a committee. In my experience, committees can criticize, but they cannot create. ‘Search the parks in all your cities You’ll find no statues of committees’ Agencies have a way of creating campaigns in committees. They call it ‘team-work’. Who can argue with team-work? The process of producing advertising campaigns moves at a snail’s pace. Questions of strategy are argued by committees of the client’s brand managers and the agency’s account executives, who have a vested interest in prolonging the argument as much as possible; it is how they earn their living. The researchers take months to answer elementary questions. When the copywriters finally get down to work, they dawdle about in brain-storming sessions and other forms of wheel-spinning. If a copywriter averages an hour a week actually writing, he is exceptional. The average period of gestation is somewhere between that of hyenas (110 days) and goats (151 days). For example, storyboards for commercials are argued at level after level in the agency, and level after level in the client’s organization. If they survive, they are then produced and tested. The average copywriter gets only three commercials a year on air.

Advertising agencies have a genius for wheel-spinning. The average time it takes them to produce a campaign is 117 days – faster than goats but slower than hyenas. Ambition Few copywriters are ambitious. It does not occur to them that if they tried hard enough, they might double the client’s sales, and make themselves famous. ‘Raise your sights!’ I exhort them. ‘Blaze new trails! Hit the ball out of the park!! Compete with the immortals!!!’ Leo Burnett said it better, ‘When you reach for the stars, you may not quite get one, but you won’t come up with a handful of mud either.’ Pursuit of knowledge I once asked Sir Hugh Rigby, Surgeon to King George V, ‘What makes a great surgeon?’ Sir Hugh replied, ‘There isn’t much to choose between surgeons in manual dexterity. What distinguishes the great surgeon is that he knows more than other surgeons.’ It is the same with advertising agents. The good ones know more. I asked an indifferent copywriter what books he had read about advertising. He told me that he had not read any; he preferred to rely on

his own intuition. ‘Suppose,’ I asked, ‘your gall-bladder has to be removed this evening. Will you choose a surgeon who has read some books on anatomy and knows where to find your gall-bladder, or a surgeon who relies on his intuition? Why should our clients be expected to bet millions of dollars on your intuition?’ This willful refusal to learn the rudiments of the craft is all too common. I cannot think of any other profession which gets by on such a small corpus of knowledge. Millions are spent on testing individual commercials and advertisements, but next to nothing is done to analyse the results of those tests in search of plus and minus factors. Advertising textbooks have nothing to say on the subject. When he had been head of J. Walter Thompson for 45 years, the great Stanley Resor told me, ‘Every year we spend hundreds of millions of dollars of our clients’ money. At the end of it, what do we know? Nothing. So two years ago I asked four of our people to try and identify factors which usually work. They already have twelve.’ I was too polite to tell him that I had ninety-six. Advertising agencies waste their client’s money repeating the same mistakes. I recently counted 49 advertisements set in reverse (white type on black background) in one issue of a magazine, long years after research demonstrated that reverse is difficult to read. What is the reason for this failure to codify experience? Is it that advertising does not attract inquiring minds? Is it that any kind of scientific method is beyond the grasp of ‘creative’ people? Are they afraid that knowledge would impose some discipline on their work? It has not always been so. When George Gallup was Research Director at Young & Rubicam in the thirties, he not only measured the readership of advertisements, he accumulated the scores and analysed them. Certain techniques, he found, consistently out-performed others. A brilliant art director called Vaughn Flannery latched on to Gallup’s discoveries and applied them. Within a few months, Young & Rubicam advertisements were being read by more people than any other agency’s, to the incalculable benefit of their clients.

If more copywriters were ambitious, they too would find fame and fortune. This is Touffou, the medieval castle where the author holes up when he is not visiting one of the Ogilvy & Mather offices. Mills Shepherd conducted similar research on the editorial content in McCall’s, and came up with similar results. He found, for example, that photographs of finished dishes consistently attracted more readers than photographs of the raw ingredients. Recipes, printed on recipe cards, were sure-fire with housewives. Using the same research technique, Harold Sykes measured the readership of advertisements in newspapers. He reported that ‘editorial’ graphics were consistently high performers. In 1947, Harold Rudolph, who had been Research Director in Stirling 2 Getchel’s agency, published a book on the subject. One of his observations was that photographs with an element of ‘story appeal’ were far above average in attracting attention. This led me to put an eyepatch on the model in my advertisements for Hathaway shirts. Later, the advertising community turned its back on such research. Agencies which pioneered the search for knowledge now excel in violating the principles their predecessors had discovered. Clients sometimes change agencies because one agency can buy

circulation at a slightly lower cost than another. They don’t realize that a copywriter who knows his factors – the triggers which make people read advertisements – can reach many times more readers than a copywriter who doesn’t. For 35 years I have continued on the course charted by Gallup, collecting factors the way other men collect pictures and postage stamps. If you choose to ignore these factors, good luck to you. A blind pig can sometimes find truffles, but it helps to know that they are found in oak forests. It is remarkable how little the plus and minus factors have changed over the years. With very few exceptions, consumers continue to react to the same techniques in the same ways. The lessons of direct response For all their research, most advertisers never know for sure whether their advertisements sell. Too many other factors cloud the equation. But direct-response advertisers, who solicit orders by mail or telephone, know to a dollar how much each advertisement sells. So watch the kind of advertising they do. You will notice important differences between their techniques and the techniques of general advertisers. For example: General advertisers use 30-second commercials. But the direct response fraternity have learned that it is more profitable to use two-minute commercials. Who, do you suppose, is more likely to be right? General advertisers broadcast their commercials in expensive prime time, when the audience is at its peak. But direct response advertisers have learned that they make more sales late at night. Who, do you suppose, is more likely to be right? In their magazine advertisements, general advertisers use short copy, but the direct response people invariably use long copy. Who, do you suppose, is more likely to be right? I am convinced that if all advertisers were to follow the example of their direct response brethren, they would get more sales per dollar. Every

copywriter should start his career by spending two years in direct response. One glance at any campaign tells me whether its author has ever had that experience. Do I practice what I preach? Not always. I have created my share of fancy campaigns, but if you ask which of my advertisements has been the most successful, I will answer without hesitation that it was the first ad I wrote for industrial development in Puerto Rico. It won no awards for ‘creativity’ but it persuaded scores of manufacturers to start factories in that poverty-stricken island. Sad to say, an agency which produced nothing but this kind of down- to-earth advertising would never win a reputation for ‘creativity,’ and would wither on the vine. What is a good advertisement? An advertisement which pleases you because of its style, or an advertisement which sells the most? They are seldom the same. Go through a magazine and pick out the advertisements you like best. You will probably pick those with beautiful illustrations, or clever copy. You forget to ask yourself whether your favorite advertisements would make you want to buy the product. Says Rosser Reeves, of the Ted Bates agency: ‘I’m not saying that charming, witty and warm copy won’t sell. I’m just saying that I’ve seen thousands of charming, witty campaigns that didn’t. Let’s say you are a manufacturer. Your advertising isn’t working and your sales are going down. And everything depends on it. Your future depends on it, your family’s future depends on it, other people’s families depend on it. And you walk in this office and talk to me, and you sit in that chair. Now, what do you want out of me? Fine writing? Do you want masterpieces? Do you want glowing things that can be framed by copywriters? Or do you want to see the 3 goddamned sales curve stop moving down and start moving up?’ The cult of ‘creativity’ The Benton & Bowles agency holds that ‘if it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative.’ Amen. You won’t find ‘creativity’ in the 12-volume Oxford Dictionary. Do you think it means originality? Says Reeves, ‘Originality is the most

dangerous word in advertising. Preoccupied with originality, copywriters pursue something as illusory as swamp fire, for which the Latin phrase is ignis fatuus.’ Mozart said, ‘I have never made the slightest effort to compose anything original.’ I occasionally use the hideous word creative myself, for lack of a better. If you take the subject more seriously than I do, I suggest you read The Creative Organization, published by the University of Chicago Press. Meanwhile, I have to invent a Big Idea for a new advertising campaign, and I have to invent it before Tuesday. ‘Creativity’ strikes me as a high-falutin word for the work I have to do between now and Tuesday. A few years ago, Harry McMahan drew attention to the kind of commercials which were winning the famous Clio awards for creativity: Agencies that won four of the Clios had lost the accounts. Another Clio winner was out of business. Another Clio winner had taken its budget out of TV. Another Clio winner had given half his account to another agency. Another refused to put his winning entry on the air. Of 81 television classics picked by the Clio festival in previous years, 36 of the agencies involved had either lost the account or gone out of business.

Rosser Reeves: ‘Do you want fine writing? Do you want masterpieces? Or do you want to see the goddamned sales curve start moving up?’ What about sex? The first advertisement I ever produced showed a naked woman. It was a mistake, not because it was sexy, but because it was irrelevant to the product – a cooking stove.

This is my first advertisement and it embarrasses me to reproduce it. No headline, no promise, no information about the product. Certainly, nobody had ever shown a nude in an advertisement before, but, in this case, it was irrelevant to the product – a cooking stove. The test is relevance. To show bosoms in a detergent advertisement would not sell the detergent. Nor is there any excuse for the sexy girls you sometimes see draped across the hoods in automobile advertisements. On the other hand, there is a functional reason to show nudes in advertisements for beauty products. Advertising reflects the mores of society, but does not influence them. Thus it is that you find more explicit sex in magazines and novels than in advertisements. The word fuck is commonplace in contemporary literature, but has yet to appear in advertisements.

There used to be an unwritten law against showing women in advertisements for cigarettes. It was not until long after people got used to seeing them smoke in public that this taboo was lifted. I was the first to show women in liquor advertisements – 30 years after they started drinking in public. Not long ago, all Paris was agog over a series of posters which appeared on the hoardings. The first showed a nubile girl in a bikini, saying, ‘On September 2, I will take off the top.’ On September 2 a new poster appeared – she had taken off the top. This time she promised, ‘On September 4, I will take off the bottom’. All Paris was asking if she would also keep this promise. She did. Few Parisians were shocked. But I would not advise you to put up these posters in South Dakota. In Pakistan, an Islamic authority recently complained that ‘our women are being exploited and commercialized on television and in the newspapers. This goes against God’s will and violates the tradition of purdah dictated in the Koran.’ He proposed a ban on women appearing in advertisements. In Saudi Arabia it is illegal to use photographs of women in advertising, but OK to use drawings, provided you don’t show bare arms or cleavage. When a commercial for a soft drink showed a little girl licking her lips because she liked the taste, it was banned as obscene.

In 1981 all Paris was agog over this series of posters. The first promised, ‘On September 2, I take off the top.’ The second promised, ‘On September 4, I take off the bottom.’ Would she keep that promise too?

She did. (It was meant to prove that posters are a good medium for advertising.)

For a long time, the idea that women might drink liquor as well as men affronted American puritanism sufficiently to keep women out of liquor ads. I was the first to break this taboo. Click here for hi-res image and text.

While we are on the subject of taste, I deplore the current fashion of using clergymen, monks and angels as comic figures in advertising. It may amuse you, but it shocks a lot of people. But I don’t object to scatological humor in advertising. I had no qualms about presenting the Grand Prize in a Clio ceremony to a Japanese soap commercial which featured a small boy farting in a public bath. The most risqué copy I have seen was for Paco Rabanne men’s cologne. Sales went up 25 per cent, and the advertisement was voted the best to appear in magazines in 1981. The Health Education Council in England uses advertising to encourage girls to get free contraceptives from Family Planning Clinics. There is a functional reason to show nudes in these ads for beauty products. Nudes have become commonplace in European advertising and are beginning to appear in American advertisements, too.

Ogilvy on Advertising - Page 41
Ogilvy on Advertising - Page 42

One of my partners wrote this risqué advertisement for men’s cologne. Click here for hi-res image and text. The Health Education Council in England ran this advertisement to encourage girls to get free contraceptives from Family Planning Clinics – ‘whether you are married or not.’

If you follow the advice I have given you, you will do your homework, avoid committees, learn from research, watch what the direct-response advertisers do, and stay away from irrelevant sex. In later chapters I will uncork some of the things I have learned about producing print advertisements which make the cash register ring. After that, television. 1 Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples. Prentice-Hall, 1975 2 Attention and Interest Factors in Advertising by H. Rudolph. Funk & Wagnall, 1947 3 Reality in Advertising, by R. Reeves. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1961

3 Jobs in advertising – and how to get them Cosimo de Medici persuaded Benvenuto Cellini, the Florentine sculptor, to enter his service by writing him a letter which concluded, ‘Come, I will choke you with gold’ Advertising offers four different career paths: 1 You can join a television network, a radio station, a magazine or a newspaper and sell time or space to advertisers and their agencies. 2 You can join a retailer like Sears Roebuck, and work as a copywriter, art director or advertising manager. 3 You can join a manufacturing company like Procter & Gamble, and work as a brand manager. 4 You can join an advertising agency. These are not watertight compartments. Copywriters trained at Sears Roebuck sometimes migrate to agencies. Brand managers escape from Procter & Gamble to join agencies. Time-buyers at agencies move to broadcasting networks. I am competent to write only about jobs in agencies. I don’t know any other trade which offers such variety. The atmosphere is extraordinarily stimulating. Agencies are psychological hothouses. You will never be bored. All the big agencies are international and offer job opportunities in Europe, Asia and Latin America. If you are fluent in a foreign language,

it helps. At the start of your career in advertising, what you learn is more important than what you earn. Some agencies take great pains to train their people. As in teaching hospitals, their top people devote an enormous amount of time to teaching the interns. Agency employees in countries where advertising is relatively mature do not always welcome attempts to teach them. However wet behind the ears, they believe that they have nothing to learn. But in Asia and other developing areas, they welcome lecturers with open arms and hang on their every word. Not surprisingly, Asian standards of competence are rapidly improving. I now see campaigns in India, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Indonesia which are better than many campaigns coming out of Europe and the United States. (See Chapter 17.) Copywriters Like all trades and professions, advertising has its establishment. You will find the names in the roster of 84 men and four women who have been elected to the Advertising Hall of Fame since its foundation 32 years ago. I regret to say that only 13 of them are copywriters. Copywriters may not be the most visible people in agencies, but they are the most important. The hallmarks of a potentially successful copywriter include: Obsessive curiosity about products, people and advertising. A sense of humor. A habit of hard work. The ability to write interesting prose for printed media, and natural dialogue for television. The ability to think visually. Television commercials depend more on pictures than words. The ambition to write better campaigns than anyone has ever written before. ‘Most good copywriters’, says William Maynard of the Bates agency, ‘fall

into two categories. Poets. And killers. Poets see an ad as an end. Killers as a means to an end.’ If you are both killer and poet, you get rich. Art directors You cannot get a job as an art director unless you have had some training in film, layout, photography and typography. It helps to be endowed with good taste. Since print went out of fashion, many art directors have turned themselves into television producers. Television, being a visual medium, is a natural outlet for their talents. Art directors used to be the handmaidens of copywriters, but they have now gone up in the world. Indeed, some art directors have risen to become distinguished Creative Directors – notably Bob Gage at Doyle Dane Bernbach, Hal Riney at Ogilvy & Mather, and Keith Reinhard at Needham, Harper & Steers. Account executives The chief role of account executives is to extract the best possible work from the other departments of the agency. They are in daily touch with clients. If I wanted to become an account executive, I would first spend a couple of years at Procter & Gamble in brand management, followed by a year in a consumer research company, learning what makes people tick – particularly people who are less well educated than I am. Some agencies now hire more women account executives than men. In the New York office of Ogilvy & Mather, 69 per cent of the account executives are women. It used to be that account executives were better paid than the brand managers who were their opposite numbers on the client side, and were often responsible not only for the advertising, but for the total marketing plan. But those days are over. The clients now recruit at the same business schools, and pay higher salaries than agencies. As a result, the role of the account executive at many agencies has been reduced to one of co-ordination. On an airplane not long ago, I overheard the following conversation:

‘What business are you in?’ ‘Engineer. You?’ ‘I’m an account executive in an ad agency.’ ‘You write the ads?’ ‘No, copywriters do that.’ ‘That must be a fun job.’ ‘It’s not that easy. We do a lot of research.’ ‘You do the research?’ ‘No, we have research people for that.’ ‘Do you bring in the new clients?’ ‘That’s not my job.’ ‘Forgive me, but what is your job?’ ‘Marketing.’ ‘You do the marketing for the clients?’ ‘No, they do it themselves.’ ‘Are you in management?’ ‘No, but I soon will be.’

If this dismal dialogue does not put you off, and you still want to start your career as an account executive, I repeat the advice I offered in my Confessions. Set yourself to becoming the best-informed person in the agency on the account to which you are assigned. If, for example, it is a gasoline account, read books on oil geology and the production of petroleum products. Read the trade journals in the field. Spend Saturday mornings in service stations, talking to motorists. Visit your client’s refineries and research laboratories. At the end of your first year, you will know more about the oil business than your boss, and be ready to succeed him. Most of the work you do will be routine maintenance. Your golden

opportunity will come when you rise to a great occasion. Some years ago, Lever Brothers asked their seven agencies to submit policy papers on the television medium, which was then quite new. The other agencies put in adequate papers of five or six pages, but a young man on my staff took the trouble to assemble every conceivable statistic and, after working day and night for three weeks, came up with an analysis which covered one hundred and seventy-seven pages. The following year he was elected to our board of directors. Some young men and women are attracted by the travel and entertainment which attach to the work of an account executive. They soon find that lunching in expensive restaurants is no fun if you have to explain a declining share-of-market while eating the soufflé. Riding the circuit of test markets can be a nightmare if one of your children is in hospital. Account executives can be divided into custodians and contributors. You can probably get by if you never function as more than a channel of communication between your client and your service departments, like a waiter who shuttles between the chefs in the kitchen and the customers in the dining room. No doubt you will perform this function with aplomb, but I hope you will contribute more than that. Like inventing big ideas for selling the product. However hard you work, and however knowledgeable you become, you will be unable to represent your agency at the client’s policy levels until you are at least 30 years old. One of my partners owes the rapidity of his ascent to the fact that he had the good fortune to have his hair turn white at twenty-seven. You will never become a successful account executive unless you learn to make good presentations. Most of your clients will be corporations, and you must be able to sell campaigns to their committees. Your presentations must be well written, and well delivered. Do not make the common mistake of regarding your clients as dopes. Make friends with them. Buy shares in their companies. But try not to become entangled in their politics. Emulate Talleyrand, who served France through seven regimes. Always tell your client what you would do if you were in his shoes, but don’t grudge him the prerogative of deciding what advertising to run. It is his product, his money, and ultimately his responsibility.

In your day-to-day dealings with clients and colleagues, fight for the kings, queens and bishops, but throw away the pawns. A habit of graceful surrender on trivial issues will make you difficult to resist when you stand and fight on a major issue. Don’t discuss your clients’ business in public places. Keep their secrets under lock and key. A reputation for leaking can ruin you. Learn to write lucid memoranda. The senior people to whom they are addressed have more homework than you do. The longer and more turgid your memos, the less likely they are to be read by executives who have the power to act on them. In 1941, Winston Churchill sent the following memo to the First Lord of the Admiralty: ‘Pray state this day, on one side of a sheet of paper, how the Royal Navy is being adapted to meet the conditions of modern warfare.’ Researchers To get a job in the Research Department of a good agency, you probably need a degree in statistics or psychology. You also need an analytical mind, and the ability to write readable reports. You must also be able to work sympathetically with creative people, most of whom are stubbornly allergic to research. Above all you must be intellectually honest. A researcher who injects bias into his reports does awful damage.

Grateful as I am to the researchers who have helped me to produce effective advertising, I have nine bones to pick with them: 1 They take three months when I only have three weeks. When Eisenhower was President, the White House called Dr. Gallup one evening at six o’clock. Eisenhower wanted to know the state of public opinion on an important issue of foreign policy. The report had to be on the President’s desk at eight o’clock the next morning. Gallup sent for six of his henchmen and dictated three questions. Then each of the henchmen telephoned six interviewers in different parts of the country, and they interviewed ten people each. By midnight they had called in their results. Gallup tabulated them, wrote his report and dictated it to a White House stenographer. The report was on Eisenhower’s desk two hours before it was due. Nor is this merely an example of presidential clout. When Robert Kennedy lost the Oregon primary in 1968, his campaign manager had a research report on his desk eighteen hours after the polls closed, analysing the reasons for his defeat. When I first went to run the Audience Research Institute for Dr. Gallup, it took our statisticians two months to deliver their reports. I bullied them into telescoping the work into two days, thereby making the reports of much greater value to the Hollywood executives who were our clients. So why does it take agency researchers three months to answer a few simple questions? They are natural slowpokes, and too frightened of making mistakes. 2 They cannot agree among themselves on methodology. It recently took the Research Directors of the 21 biggest agencies two years to reach agreement on the principles which should govern copy-testing. Now they have started to debate methodology. Five years? 3 It is in research departments that you find the eggheads of the agency business. Too many of them are more interested in sociology and economics than advertising. They concentrate their attention on subjects which are only peripherally related to advertising. 4 They have little or no system for retrieving research which has

already been conducted. Reports are read, sometimes acted on, and filed. Two years later the researcher, the account executive, the copywriter and the brand manager have moved to fresh pastures. Even if somebody remembers that the research was done, nobody can find it. So we re-invent the wheel, year after year. 5 Advertising research is full of fads. In the sixties we saw Eye Cameras, Latin Squares, Facturals, Randomized Blocks, Greco-Latin Squares. Some of them were useful, but all went out of fashion. 6 Researchers use graphs which are incomprehensible to laymen. And their reports are too long. When he was an executive at Procter & Gamble, Ralph Glendinning refused to read any research report which was more than a quarter of an inch thick. 7 Researchers have a maddening way of refusing to undertake projects which they consider imperfect by their perfectionist standards, even when the project would produce actionable results. Said Winston Churchill, ‘PERFECTIONISM is spelled PARALYSIS.’ 8 Ninety-nine researchers out of a hundred content themselves with conducting surveys for which they are asked, but seldom take initiatives. Stop asking them questions, and they grind to a halt. 9 Worst of all, researchers use pretentious jargon – such as attitudinal paradigms, judgmentally, demassification, reconceptualize, sub-optimal, symbiotic linkage, splinterization. Come off it, professor. Media I have never worked in the media department of an agency, but observation of those who have been successful in this field leads me to think that they need an analytical mind, the ability to communicate numerical data in non-numerical formats, stability under pressure, and a taste for negotiation with the owners of media. Chief Executive Officer The most difficult job in an agency is Chief Executive Officer. He (or she) must be a good leader of frightened people. He must have financial

acumen, administrative skill, thrust, and the courage to fire non- performers. He must be a good salesman, because he is responsible for bringing in new clients. He must be resilient in adversity. Above all, he must have the physical stamina to work 12 hours a day, dine out several 1 times a week, and spend half his time in airplanes. A recent study reveals that the death rate from stress-related causes is 14 per cent higher among senior advertising executives than their counterparts in other white-collar occupations. Creative Director As a Creative Director myself, I dare to list the attributes needed for this back-breaking job. You must be: 1 A good psychologist. 2 Willing and able to set high standards. 3 An efficient administrator. 4 Capable of strategic thinking – ‘positioning’ and all that. 5 Research-minded. 6 Equally good at television and print. 7 Equally good at package goods and other kinds of accounts. 8 Well versed in graphics and typography. 9 A hard worker – and fast. 10 Slow to quarrel. 11 Prepared to share credit for good work, and accept blame for bad work. 12 A good presenter. 13 A good teacher and a good recruiter. 14 Full of infectious joie de vivre.

Notice that I put ‘good psychologist’ at the top of the list. Albert Lasker, who made the largest fortune in the history of the advertising business, once told a group of copywriters, ‘You think managing copywriters is a snap? You have taken some hairs out of me. I had a breakdown that kept me five and one-half months. I couldn’t talk for five minutes without starting to weep.’ Women in advertising Feminists are doing dreadful things to the English language. I refuse to write spokesperson, chairperson, househusband or womanhole cover. Like most boys of my generation, I started life believing that women belonged in the home, until I noticed how much happier my mother was when she went out to work. My first woman Vice-President was Reva Korda, a brilliant copywriter who later became head of the Creative Department. For all her brains and ability, even Reva encountered male copywriters and art directors who felt uncomfortable working under any woman. But there are now 52 women Vice-Presidents in the New York office of Ogilvy & Mather, and there appears to be no resentment of them among the male staff. The majority of people now being recruited by advertising agencies in the United States for so-called ‘professional’ jobs are women. Firing and hiring Agencies used to fire people at the drop of a hat. Stirling Getchel’s otherwise admirable agency had a turnover in staff of 137 per cent in one year. Another agency fired a copywriter because he dared to talk to the boss in the men’s room. Today the boot is on the other foot. The people who work in agencies are lamentably nomadic. I recently hired a 40-year-old copywriter who had already changed jobs eleven times. You might suppose that a business which depends entirely on the talent of its people would take recruiting seriously, but that is not yet the case. In most agencies, the recruiting is still sloppy and haphazard. Even today, it is rare for any agency to ask an applicant’s former employers what they think of him. I know two men who were hired and fired as Presidents of three agencies – without their references being checked.

Education for advertising Eighty-seven American universities offer undergraduate courses in advertising, and some even give degrees in it. With a few conspicuous exceptions, the teachers lack the practical experience to be relevant. All of them are handicapped by the poor quality of the textbooks, and very few do research of their own. Most of their graduates get jobs with small agencies, the big agencies preferring to recruit people who have furnished their minds by studying history, languages, economics and so forth. The fashion for recruiting at schools of business administration seems to have passed its peak. Give or take a few stars like the Baker Scholars at the Harvard Business School, their alumni are more remarkable for stodginess and arrogance than imagination. Social status When I was a door-to-door salesman for Aga cooking stoves in Scotland, I paid a cold call on an aristocrat. He threw me out. What right had I to invade his privacy? ‘Sir,’ I said, ‘you are a Director of two companies which sell their products door-to-door. How dare you insult me for doing something which your own salesmen do every day?’ His disdain for salesmen is mirrored in the snobbish attitude of the British establishment towards advertising. Not so in the United States. Moonlighting If you need more income than your agency is willing to pay you, make up the difference by moonlighting. I have been moonlighting for 30 years. The Curtis Publishing Company gave me two magnificent china lamps for writing an advertisement for Holiday magazine. They had been bullying their editors and I had reason to believe that they were about to fire Ted Patrick, the marvelous editor of Holiday. So I persuaded the heads of the 12 biggest agencies to join me in a testimonial to Ted, applauding him for his ‘indifference to the heckling of publishers.’ The Curtis people were too dumb to realize that this would make it impossible for them to fire Ted, and ran my advertisement. The Reader’s Digest gave $10,000 to the Scottish school which had educated me, in return for an advertisement I wrote for them.

Omega, the watch company, paid me $25,000 to spend four days at their headquarters in Switzerland, advising them how to improve their advertising. To my surprise, they got their money’s worth. Even today, I am retained by the Campbell Soup Company as their consultant on marketing. Curtis Publishing paid me two antique china lamps for writing this advertisement in my spare time. They did not guess my real motive: to make it impossible for them to fire the editor of Holiday magazine. The signatories were the heads of the twelve biggest agencies – Holiday’s customers. Click here for hi-res image. ‘Be happy while you’re living’ ‘Chess’, wrote Raymond Chandler, ‘is about as elaborate a waste of

human intelligence as you could find anywhere outside an advertising agency.’ If advertising is a waste of intelligence, it isn’t a very serious one. Not more than 100,000 men and women work in advertising agencies in the United States – less than 0.1 per cent of the working population. About 15,000 work in British agencies. Most of the people I know in agencies strike me as well cast for their work and reasonably happy in it. Whenever I think that someone is wasting his talents in advertising, I tell him so. One of my partners is a superb naturalist, and secretly resented every day he spent in the agency. On my advice he retired – and went on to save endangered species of fauna from extinction. In the words of the Scottish proverb, ‘Be happy while you’re living, for you’re a long time dead.’ A few advertising people regard advertising as an unworthy occupation. Thus the head of the agency in Paris that helped François Mitterrand become President of France called his autobiography: Don’t tell my mother I work in an advertising agency – she thinks I play the piano in a whorehouse. Poor chap.

In gratitude for my writing this advertisement, Reader’s Digest gave $10,000 to the Scottish school where I was educated. Because it was to appear over my signature, I took great pains to write it well – well enough for Raymond Rubicam to call it ‘a masterpiece.’ If all clients insisted on their agencies signing their ads, they would gel better ads. Click here for hi-res image and text. Those of us who study public opinion surveys are aware that the lay public thinks we admen are rascals. Dr. Gallup recently asked people to rate 24 professions for honesty. Top marks went to clergymen, bottom marks to trade-union leaders, car salesmen and advertising practitioners. The stereotype of the ‘huckster’ dies hard. But I don’t think our poor image keeps many of us awake at night. I have never felt any inclination to give up my job and become a clergyman. I enjoy my work, and sometimes feel proud of its results.

How to apply for a job Don’t telephone – write to three or four agencies, and enclose your curriculum vitae. Be sure to type your letter, and take a lot of trouble 2 with it. In their book Writing that Works, my partners Kenneth Roman and Joel Raphaelson offer this golden advice: 1 Spell all names right It’s astonishing how often job applicants misspell the names of the agencies they want to work for. The message that gets through, right off the bat, is: ‘This applicant can’t be seriously interested in working here; he didn’t even take the trouble to find out how to spell our name.’ 2 Identify the sort of job you’re applying for State it clearly and at once. Say what led you to apply – a want ad, a recommendation from a friend, whatever. A letter applying for a job as a research analyst started in this mysterious way: Dear Ms. Smith: It’s spring already – a time to think about planting seeds. Some seeds are small, like apple seeds. Others are bigger. Coconuts, for example. But big or little, a seed can grow and flourish if it’s planted in proper soil. The applicant would have done better to start like this: Dear Ms. Smith: I understand that you are looking for a research analyst. Ms. Smith doesn’t have time to play guessing games with her mail. 3 Be specific and factual Once you’ve made clear what job you want, then touch on your chief qualifications. Avoid egotistical abstractions like: ‘Ambition mixed with a striving for excellence is one of my strongest assets’ 4 Be personal, direct and natural You are a human being writing to another human being. Neither of you

is an institution. You should be businesslike and courteous, but never stiff and impersonal. The more your letter sounds like you, the more it will stand apart from the letters of your competitors. But don’t try to dazzle your reader with your sparkling personality. You wouldn’t show off in an interview, so why show off in a letter? If you make each sentence sound the way you would say it across a desk, there will be plenty of personality in your letter. This is the first advertisement I wrote as the head of my own agency – at the age of 39. Click here for hi-res image and text.

5 Propose a specific next stop Close your letter with a clear and precise statement of how you wish to proceed toward an interview. Avoid such mumblings as: ‘Hoping to hear from you soon.’ ‘Thank you for your time and consideration.’ ‘I’m looking forward to the opportunity of discussing a position with you.’ All such conclusions place the burden of the next step on your busy prospective employer. Why make him work in your interest? Do the job yourself, like this: ‘I’ll call your office on Wednesday afternoon to see if you’d like me to come in for an interview.’ ‘I’m free for an interview every morning until 8:45, and Thursday after 2:30. I’ll call your office on Wednesday afternoon to find out if you would like to get together at any of those times’ At this stage a phone call makes things easy for the person at the other end. If you don’t call him, he has to go to the trouble of calling or writing to you. The idea is to make it as simple as you possibly can for your prospective employer to set up an appointment at a time that’s convenient to you. I am always surprised by the illiteracy of men and women who look for jobs in advertising. I am bombarded with applications like this recent lulu: ‘My goal is to seek more challenging experiences to further develop my skills in marketing and advertising. I feel I have reached a plateau in my education. My objective is to obtain a top level management position utilizing extensive experiences in marketing communications areas as a viable contribution to corporate objectives. My creative background and expertise involves a wide

range of areas in the development of objectives, strategies and marketing communications programs to meet these goals’ If you will take my advice, don’t get a job in advertising unless it interests you more than anything in the world. There are many different kinds of jobs, calling for very different skills, all the way from art direction to statistics. All the jobs can be performed by women, in some cases better than by men. The pay is good, but don’t expect the gold that Cosimo de Medici promised Cellini. There are easier ways to get rich. 1 Last year my partner Michael Ball flew 300,000 miles and spent 131 nights in hotels. 2 Harper & Row, New York, 1981.

4 How to run an advertising agency unning an agency requires midnight oil, salesmanship of the highest R order, a deep keel, guts, thrust, and a genius for sustaining the morale of men and women who work in a continuous state of anxiety. It is popularly believed that advertising attracts neurotics who are naturally prone to anxiety. I don’t believe this. What happens in agencies is enough to induce anxiety among the most phlegmatic people. The copywriter lives with fear. Will he have a big idea before Tuesday morning? Will the client buy it? Will it get a high test score? Will it sell the product? I have never sat down to write an advertisement without thinking THIS TIME I AM GOING TO FAIL. The account executive also has reasons for anxiety. He represents the agency to the client, and the client to the agency. When the agency goofs, the client holds him responsible. When the client is bloody- minded, the agency blames him. The head of the agency also has his worries. Is such-and-such a client going to fire you? Is a valuable partner going to quit? Will you make a hash of the new business presentation on Thursday? Make it fun to work in your agency. When people aren’t having any fun, they don’t produce good advertising. Kill grimness with laughter. Encourage exuberance. Get rid of sad dogs who spread gloom. What kind of paragons are the men and women who run successful agencies? My observation has been that they are enthusiasts. They are intellectually honest. They have the guts to face tough decisions. They are resilient in adversity. Most of them are natural charmers. They are not bullies. They encourage communications upwards, and are good listeners. Many of them drink too much, and read little except office paper, in which they drown. With few exceptions, they are decent people, and worth knowing. It wasn’t always so. When I first arrived in New York, some of the agencies

were headed by bastards and phonies. One of the most agreeable things about running an agency is that all your accounts are in different industries. In the morning you discuss the problems and opportunities of a client who makes soap. In the afternoon it is a bank, or an airline, or a manufacturer of medicines. But you pay a price for this variety. Every time you see a client, you have to be sufficiently briefed on his business to give relevant advice. When I was the chief executive of my agency, I always took home two briefcases, and spent four hours reading their contents. Not much fun for my wife. Next to homework, my worst enemy was the telephone. I was usually 25 return calls behind. When you are appointed to head an office in the Ogilvy & Mather chain, I send you one of these Russian dolls. Inside the smallest you will find this message: ‘If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs, but if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, Ogilvy & Mather will become a company of giants.’ Agencies are breeding-grounds for sibling rivalry. Will Cadwallader get a corner office before Balfour? Why did you invite Pennypacker to lunch instead of Morgan? Why was Sidebottom made a Vice-President before Winterbottom? The agency I know best has two Chairmen, three Presidents, two Managing Directors, eight Executive Vice-Presidents, 67 Senior Vice-Presidents and 249 Vice-Presidents. You might suppose that nobody would take such nonsense seriously, but they do. Giving out the titles reminds me of Louis XIV: ‘Every time I give someone a title, I make a hundred people angry and one person ungrateful.’ What can you do to keep sibling rivalry under control? You can be fair, and you can avoid playing favorites. Said Dr. William Menninger:

‘The executive is inevitably a father figure. To be a good father, whether it is to his children or to his associates, requires that he be understanding, that he be considerate, and that he be human enough to be affectionate.’ If Menninger had been into transactional analysis, he would have added that the best fathers are ‘nurturing’ rather than ‘controlling.’ Laymen assume that if you work in an advertising agency, you produce advertisements. The fact is that 90 per cent of the staff don’t. They do research, they prepare media plans, they buy space and time, they do things loosely described as ‘marketing.’ And about 60 per cent of them do clerical work. In most agencies there are twice as many account executives as copywriters. If you were a dairy farmer, would you employ twice as many milkers as cows? Friction between copywriters and account executives is endemic in all agencies. Copywriters traditionally regard account executives as brainless bullies. I know a few account executives who fit this stereotype, but most of them are sensitive and well educated. Account executives are apt to regard copywriters as irresponsible prima donnas. Some are. Hiring Success in running an agency depends on your ability to hire men and women of exceptional talent, to train them thoroughly, and to make the most of their talents. The most difficult people to find are those who have the capacity to become good copywriters. I have found that they always have well-furnished minds. They give evidence of exceptional curiosity about every subject under the sun. They have an above-average sense of humor. And they have a fanatical interest in the craft of advertising. I used to think that nobody could write good advertising before he was thirty. Then one day, on a visit to Frankfurt, I asked to meet the author of an exceptionally good campaign. She was eighteen. I marvel at the ability of some copywriters to keep their creative juices flowing year after year. George Cecil wrote the American Telephone advertising for 40 years, and wrote it well. It is a tragedy of the advertising business that its best practitioners are always promoted into

management. I was infinitely more useful to my clients when I wrote copy than when I was Chairman of the Board. When someone is made the head of an office in the Ogilvy & Mather chain, I send him a Matrioshka doll from Gorky. If he has the curiosity to open it, and keep opening it until he comes to the inside of the smallest doll, he finds this message: If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants. Even when you find someone who is better than you are, you won’t always succeed in recruiting him. Among those I have failed to recruit are Helmut Krone, the great art director; Shirley Polykoff, of Clairol fame; and a young account executive called Bart Cummings who went on to become head of the Compton agency.

When I advertise for Creative Directors, I make it clear what I want. Click here for hi-res image. I have always tried to hire what J.P. Morgan called ‘gentlemen with brains.’ Did he mean gentlemen in the snobbish sense? I think so. The debt owed by the United States to Roosevelt, Dean Acheson, Averell Harriman, Robert Lovett, John J. McCloy, the Rockefeller brothers and many other aristocrats has not been sufficiently acknowledged. I have been particularly lucky with alumni of St Paul’s and Harvard, notably my partners Esty Stowell and Jock Elliott. But I have also been lucky with gentlemen in the wider sense of the word. Brains? It doesn’t necessarily mean a high IQ. It means curiosity,

common sense, wisdom, imagination and literacy. Why literacy? Because most communication between agencies and clients is in writing. I don’t suggest that you have to be a poet, but you won’t climb the ladder very high unless you can write lucid memoranda. I persuaded two of my 1 partners to write a book on the subject. I commend it to you. Look for young men and women who can one day lead your agency. Is there any way of predicting the capacity to lead? The only way I know is to look at their college records. If they were leaders between the ages of 18 and 22, the odds are that they will emerge as leaders in middle life. Make sure you have a Vice-President in charge of Revolution, to engender ferment among your more conventional colleagues. Crown Princes Spot the comers on your staff, and plan their careers. Royal Dutch Shell has found that the most reliable criteria for selecting what they call Crown Princes are these: 1 The power of analysis. 2 Imagination. 3 A sense of reality. 4 The ‘helicopter quality’- the ability to look at facts and problems from an overall viewpoint. John Loudon, the distinguished former head of Shell, believes that when it comes to picking people for senior jobs, character is more important than any of these qualities. Dare I confess that I have come to believe in graphology as an instrument for assessing character? It is regarded as fakery in the United States, but is widely used in French business. Before accepting my offer of marriage, my wife had my handwriting analysed by two graphologists. Their reports were consistent – and accurate. Promote from within or hire from outside? ‘Mr. Morgan buys his partners,’ said Andrew Carnegie; ‘I grow mine.’ In the early days of Ogilvy & Mather, shortage of cash obliged me to pay peanut salaries. Pay peanuts, says Jimmy Goldsmith, and you get monkeys. I chose not to promote my monkeys, but to fill senior openings from outside, with stars

like Esty Stowell, Jock Elliott and Andrew Kershaw. Even a mature agency with a pool of potential leaders does well to refresh its blood by occasionally hiring partners from outside. Who not to hire Never hire your friends. I have made this mistake three times, and had to fire all three. They are no longer my friends. Never hire your client’s children. If you have to fire them, you may lose the client. This is another mistake I have made. Never hire your own children, or the children of your partners. However able they may be, ambitious people won’t stay in outfits which practice nepotism. This is one mistake I did not make; my son is in the real estate business, secure in the knowledge that he owes nothing of his success to his father. Think twice before hiring people who have been successful in other fields. I have hired a magazine editor, a lawyer and an economist. None of them developed an interest in advertising. And never hire your clients. The qualities which make someone a good client are not the qualities required for success in the agency business. I have made this mistake twice. Office politicians The hothouse atmosphere in agencies can cause outbreaks of 2 psychological warfare to rival university faculties. The politics became so vicious at Milton Biow’s agency that he was forced to close down. I know of seven ways to squelch them: 1 Fire the worst of the politicians. You can identify them by how often they send you blind copies of their poison-pen memos to their rivals. 2 When somebody comes to your office and denounces his rival as an incompetent rascal, summon the rival and make the denouncer repeat what he has just told you. 3 Crusade against paper warfare. Make your people settle their fights face to face.

4 Start a luncheon club within the agency. It turns enemies into friends. 5 Discourage poaching. 6 Don’t play favorites. 7 Don’t play politics. If you practice the fiendish art of divide et impera, your agency will go up in smoke. Discipline works Insist that your people arrive on time, even if you have to pay them a bonus to do so. Insist that telephones are answered promptly. Be eternally vigilant about the security of your clients’ secrets; indiscretion in elevators and restaurants, the premature use of outside typesetters, and the display of forthcoming advertisements on notice boards can do grave damage to your clients. Sustain unremitting pressure on the professional standards of your staff. It is suicide to settle for second-rate performance. Above all, insist that due dates are kept, even if it means working all night and over the weekend. Hard work, says the Scottish proverb, never killed a man. People die of boredom and disease. There is nothing like an occasional all-night push to enliven morale – provided you are part of the push. Never leave the bridge in a storm. St Augustine had this to say about pressure: ‘To be under pressure is inescapable. Pressure takes place through all the world: war, siege, the worries of state. We all know men who grumble under these pressures, and complain. They are cowards. They lack splendor. But there is another sort of man who is under the same pressure, but does not complain. For it is the friction which polishes him. It is pressure which refines and makes him noble.’ I have to admit that I have sometimes found the pressure unbearable; my own fault for frittering away so much time on things which lead nowhere. It is a good idea to start the year by writing down exactly what

you want to accomplish, and end the year by measuring how much you have accomplished. McKinsey imposes this discipline on its partners and pays them according to how many of the things on their lists they accomplish. Leadership I have had unique opportunities for observing men who manage great corporations – my clients. Most of them are good problem-solvers and decision-makers, but few are outstanding leaders. Some of them, far from inspiring their lieutenants, display a genius for castrating them. Great leadership can have an electrifying effect on the performance of any corporation. I have had the good fortune to work for three inspiring leaders – Monsieur Pitard, who was my boss in the kitchens of the Majestic Hotel in Paris; George Gallup; and Sir William Stephenson of British Intelligence. There has been a lot of research into leadership. It is the consensus among the social scientists that success in leadership depends on the circumstances. For example, a man who has been an outstanding leader in an industrial company can be a flop when he goes to Washington as Secretary of Commerce. And the kind of leadership which works well in a new company seldom works well in a mature company. There appears to be no correlation between leadership and academic achievement. I was relieved to learn this, because I have no college degree. The motivation which makes a man a good student is not the kind of motivation which makes him a good leader. There is a tendency for corporations to reject executives who do not fit their conventions. How many corporations would promote a maverick like Charlie Kettering of General Motors? How many advertising agencies would hire a 38-year-old man whose curriculum vitae read: ‘Unemployed farmer, former cook and university drop-out?’ (Me in the year I started Ogilvy & Mather.) The best leaders are apt to be found among those executives who have a strong component of unorthodoxy in their characters. Instead of resisting innovation, they symbolize it – and companies cannot grow without innovation. Great leaders almost always exude self-confidence. They are never

petty. They are never buck-passers. They pick themselves up after defeat – the way Howard Clark of American Express picked himself up after the salad oil swindle. Under Howard’s indomitable leadership, the price of American Express shares increased fourteen-fold. Great leaders are always fanatically committed to their jobs. They do not suffer from the crippling need to be universally loved. They have the guts to make unpopular decisions – including the guts to fire non- performers. Gladstone once said that a great Prime Minister must be a good butcher. I saw the head chef at the Hotel Majestic fire a pastry cook because the poor devil could not get his brioches to rise straight. This ruthlessness made all the other chefs feel that they were working in the best kitchen in the world. Some men are good at leading the multitude – whether it be the labor force in their company, or the voting population in their country. But these same men are often miserable leaders of a small group. Good leaders are decisive. They grasp nettles. Some of them are very odd characters. Lloyd George was sexually chaotic. General Grant, who won the Civil War, drank like a fish. On November 26, 1863, the New York Herald quoted Lincoln as saying: ‘I wish some of you would tell me the brand of whiskey that Grant drinks. I would like to send a barrel of it to my other generals’ Winston Churchill was another hardened drinker. He was capricious and petulant. He was grossly inconsiderate of his staff. He was a colossal egotist. Yet his Chief of Staff wrote of him: ‘I shall always look back on the years I worked with him as some of the most difficult and trying ones in my life. For all that I thank God that I was given the opportunity of working alongside of such a man, and of having my eyes opened to the fact that occasionally such supermen exist on this earth.’ I do not believe that fear is a tool used by good leaders. People do their best work in a happy atmosphere. Ferment and innovation depend on joie de vivre. I am indebted to Charlie Brower of BBDO for his amendment to the 13th chapter of St Paul’s first Epistle to the Corinthians: ‘A man who spendeth his life gathering gold for the United

States Treasury and has no fun, is a sounding ass and a tinkling idiot.’ The great leaders I have known have been curiously complicated men. Howard Johnson, the former President of MIT, has described it as ‘a visceral form of spiritual energy which provides the element of mystery in leadership.’ I have seen this mysterious energy in Marvin Bower of McKinsey, Ted Moscoso of Puerto Rico, and Henry Alexander of Morgan Guaranty. A ‘visceral form of spiritual energy’ characterized these great leaders. Marvin Bower of McKinsey,

Ted Moscoso of Puerto Rico, Henry Alexander of Morgan Guaranty.

The most effective leader is the one who satisfies the psychological needs of his followers. For example, it is one thing to be a good leader of Americans, who are raised in a tradition of democracy and have a high need for independence. But the American brand of democratic leadership doesn’t work so well in Europe, where executives have a psychological need for more autocratic leadership. That is one of many reasons why it is wise for American agencies to appoint locals to lead their foreign subsidiaries. It does an agency no good when its leader never shares his leadership functions with his lieutenants. The more centers of leadership you create, the stronger your agency will become. There is an art in being a good follower. On the night before a major battle, the first Duke of Marlborough was reconnoitering the terrain. He and his staff were on horseback. Marlborough dropped his glove. Cadogan, his chief of staff, dismounted, picked up the glove and handed it to Marlborough. The other officers thought this remarkably civil of Cadogan. Later that evening, Marlborough issued his final order: ‘Cadogan, put a battery of guns where I dropped my glove.’ ‘I have already done so,’ replied Cadogan. He had read Marlborough’s mind, and anticipated his order. Cadogan was the kind of follower who makes leadership easy. I have known men whom nobody could lead. Most of the great leaders I know have the ability to inspire people with their speeches. If you cannot write inspiring speeches yourself, use ghost-writers – but use good ones. Roosevelt used the poet Archibald MacLeish, the playwright Robert Sherwood and Judge Rosenmann. That is why he was more inspiring than any of the Presidents we have had since, with the exception of John F. Kennedy, who also used outstanding ghost-writers. Very few chief executives are good on their feet. Whoever writes the speeches, the CEO delivers them atrociously. Competence, however, can be learned. All major politicians hire experts to teach them the art of 3 delivery. The man who said the wisest things about leadership was Field Marshal Montgomery: ‘The leader must have infectious optimism, and the determination to persevere in the face of difficulties. He must also radiate confidence, even when he himself is not too certain of the outcome.

‘The final test of a leader is the feeling you have when you leave his presence after a conference. Have you a feeling of uplift and confidence?’ Alcoholics It is reliably reported that seven out of every hundred executives in American business are alcoholics, and it is reasonable to assume that the proportion in your agency is at least as high. By alcoholic, I mean somebody whose drinking seriously interferes with his family life and his performance in the agency. He is on the way to losing his job, wrecking his marriage and dying of cirrhosis. Your alcoholics may include some of your brightest stars. The problem is to identify them, protected as they always are by their secretaries and their colleagues. Invite the alcoholic’s wife to join you in a surprise confrontation with her husband. Start by telling him that all present are devoted to him. Then say how worried you are about his drinking. His wife and his children are about to leave him, and you are about to fire him – unless he does what you ask. A reservation has been made for him to enter a treatment center that very day. Most alcoholics agree to go. It takes a week for the center to dry them out, and another four weeks to rehabilitate them. On returning home, they must go to daily meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous for at least a year. This procedure works in about 60 per cent of cases. I have seen it salvage some valuable people of both sexes. If you would like further advice on the subject, consult the nearest chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous. Written principles Marvin Bower, who made McKinsey what it is today, believes that every company should have a written set of principles and purposes. So I drafted mine and sent them to Marvin for comment. On the first page I had listed seven purposes, starting with Earn an increased profit every year. Marvin gave me holy hell. He said that any service business which gave higher priority to profits than to serving its clients deserved to fail. So I relegated profit to seventh place on my list.

Do you think it childish to use a set of written principles to guide the management of an advertising agency? I can only tell you that mine have proved invaluable in keeping a complicated enterprise on course. Profit and all that I do not fancy myself as a financial wizard, but I have learned a thing or two from my partner Shelby Page, who has presided over the finances of Ogilvy & Mather since the first day. The average profit in agencies is less than 1 per cent after taxes. If you chisel on service, you can make more than that, but your clients will leave you. If your service is too generous, your clients will love you, but you will go broke. Size and profit are not the same thing. In 1981, Ogilvy & Mather made more profit than an agency which bills twice as much. Agencies add new services the way universities add new courses. Nothing wrong with that if you also discontinue services which have outlived their relevance. To keep your boat moving through the water, keep scraping the barnacles off its bottom. Seven of the twelve biggest agencies are public companies. Their share prices have increased 439 per cent during the last ten years, compared with 37 per cent for Standard & Poor’s 500. Many security analysts still believe that agencies are a poor investment. Not so Warren Buffett, one of the most successful investors in the world. He has taken substantial positions in three publicly held agencies, and is quoted as saying, ‘The best business is a royalty on the growth of others, requiring very little capital itself…such as the top international advertising agencies.’ If you read the advertising columns in newspapers, you get the impression that the agency business is dangerously unstable. The reason is that the newspapers only report movements of accounts from one agency to another. Yet only 4 per cent of total US advertising changes agencies during a year. The 25 biggest agencies in 1972 are, with only one exception, the 25 biggest today, 11 years later. Eight of the top ten are in their fifth or sixth generation of management. Only Ogilvy & Mather has its founder still on board.

How to get paid You will have to choose between the traditional commission system and 4 the newer system of fees. The fee system has four advantages: 1 The advertiser pays for the services he wants – no more, no less. 2 Every fee account pays its own way. Unprofitable accounts do not ride on the coat-tails of profitable accounts, which is the case with the commission system. 3 Temporary cuts in clients’ budgets do not oblige you to cut staff. 4 When you advise a client to increase his advertising, he does not suspect your motive. I pioneered the fee system, but I no longer care how I get paid, provided I make a reasonable profit. In 1981, the average net profit of American agencies was 0.83 per cent of billing. Does that strike you as unreasonable? When a client frets about the price of his agency’s services, he ends up getting a low price and poor advertising. What to do with your profits First, you have to pay 52 per cent corporation tax. If you distribute what is left as dividends, your shareholders have to pay a further 40 per cent as income tax. When they spend their dividends, they have to pay sales tax. The Government has taken 73 cents out of every dollar you made as profit. Some agencies have invested their profits in ventures outside their competence – an insurance company, a travel agency, a retail chain, a fish cannery, a motion picture company, even a small oil company. Not surprisingly, they all burned their fingers. (I resisted that temptation.) The current fad is to invest part of your profit in buying other agencies. Beware! Agencies are seldom for sale unless they are in some kind of trouble. Perhaps you give their key people five-year contracts, because you think their clients would vamoose if they retired. But their ways are not your ways and the friction can be abominable. Are there more sensible ways of investing your profits? I know of

three: 1 You can open branch offices in other cities or other countries. This has the advantage that you don’t inherit other people’s mistakes, and you preserve you own ethos, pure and undefiled. The disadvantage is that your start-up costs cannot be capitalized, so they reduce your earnings per share. 2 You can buy the building which houses your office. Young & Rubicam did this in New York two years ago. 3 You can build a reserve against a rainy day. On Wall Street they regard this as lunacy, but when times get hard, the lunatics may survive longer than their more adventurous competitors. A new gimmick is to acquire agencies and leave them to their own devices, even allowing them to compete with you in new business contests. One of the giant agencies has become little more than a holding company for a miscellaneous collection of independently operated subsidiaries. Fortunes The agency man who made the largest fortune was Albert Lasker of Lord & Thomas (now Foote, Cone & Belding), followed by Ted Bates, Jim Mathes, Ray Mithune and Cliff Fitzgerald. I estimate an average of about $20,000,000 each. Some people have made fortunes out of selling their agencies to Interpublic, including David Williams, Tom Adams, Al Seaman and Hagen Bayles; my guess is that they averaged about $6,000,000 each. The admirable Bill Marsteller probably made more than that when he sold his agency to Young & Rubicam, as did the senior partners in Esty when they sold to Bates, and the senior partners in Compton when they sold to Saatchi & Saatchi. Ed Ney, the head of Young & Rubicam, is the only present-day head of an agency who has built a large nest egg without selling out or going public. However big the egg, Ney is worth every penny.

Five tips 1 Never allow two people to do a job which one could do. George Washington observed, ‘Whenever one person is found adequate to the discharge of a duty by close application thereto, it is worse executed by two persons, and scarcely done at all if three or more are employed therein.’ 2 Never summon people to your office; it frightens them. Instead, go to see them in their offices, unannounced. A boss who never wanders about his agency becomes an invisible hermit. 3 If you want to get action, communicate verbally. If you want the voting to go your way at meetings, go to the meeting. Remember the French saying: ‘He who is absent is always wrong.’ 4 It is bad manners to use products which compete with your clients’ products. When I got the Sears Roebuck account, I started buying all my clothes at Sears. This bugged my wife, but the following year a convention of clothing manufacturers voted me the best-dressed man in America. I would not dream of using any travelers checks except American Express, or drinking any coffee but Maxwell House, or washing with any soap except Dove. As the number of brands advertised by Ogilvy & Mather now exceeds two thousand, my personal inventory is getting complicated. 5 Never allow yourself the luxury of writing letters of complaint. After my first transatlantic voyage I wrote to my travel agency complaining that the service on the Queen Mary was slovenly and the decoration vulgar. Three months later we were on the point of getting the Cunard account when they happened to see my letter. It took them twenty years to forgive me and give us their account.

When I got the Rolls-Royce account, I followed my rule of using the client’s product. Other Rolls-Royce owners have included Rudyard Kipling, Henry Ford I, Ernest Hemingway, Woodrow Wilson, Charlie Chaplin, Baden Powell and Lenin. Mine lasted 22 years. 1 Writing that Works, by Kenneth Roman and Joel Raphaelson, Harper & Row, 1981 2 When Senator Benton left the Benton & Bowles agency and joined the University of Chicago, he found the politics much worse. 3 Read Speech Dynamics by Dorothy Sarnoff, Doubleday, 1970 4 A commission is paid to the agency by the medium – print, television, radio – in which the agency has bought space on behalf of its client. Under this arrangement, the agency finances services to its clients out of commissions, rather than charge fees direct to the client.

5 How to get clients ere I go, boasting again. There are better copywriters than I am, H and scores of better administrators, but I doubt if many people have matched my record as a new business collector. In my Confessions, I told how I started by making a list of the clients I most wanted – General Foods, Lever Brothers, Bristol Myers, Campbell Soup Company and Shell. It took time, but in due course I got them all, plus American Express, Sears Roebuck, IBM, Morgan Guaranty, Merrill Lynch and a few others, including three governments. While some of these clients have since defected, their total billings with Ogilvy & Mather add up to more than three billion dollars – so far. A big account walks in. (From White Collar Zoo by Clare Barnes Jr.)

My policy has always been that of J.P. Morgan – ‘only first-class business, and that in a first-class way’ – but at first I had to take anything I could get, to pay the rent. A patent hairbrush, a tortoise, an English motorbike. But I also had the good fortune to get four small accounts which gave me a chance to produce the kind of sophisticated advertising which attracts attention to an agency: Guinness, Hathaway shirts, Schweppes and Rolls-Royce. The easiest way to get new clients is to do good advertising. During one period of seven years, we never failed to win an account for which we competed, and all I did was to show the campaigns we had created. Sometimes, I did not even have to do that. One afternoon, a man walked into my office without an appointment and gave me the IBM account; he knew our work. This unparalleled run of success gave me a swelled head. When Dr. Anton Rupert told me that he had it in mind to market Rothmans cigarettes in the United States and asked me to do the advertising, I declined with such hubris that he said, ‘Mr. Ogilvy, I hope to meet you again – when you are on your way down.’ We did not meet again for 25 years, when we were both on the Executive Committee of the World Wildlife Fund. He is a great man. In recent years, manufacturers have complicated the process of selecting agencies beyond reason. They start by sending long questionnaires to a dozen or more agencies. Idiotic questions like: ‘How many persons are employed in your print production department?’ To which I answered, ‘I haven’t the foggiest idea. I haven’t been in the department for seven years. Why do you think it matters?’

To get clients, do good advertising. If you are more polite and give enough right answers, you get on the short list, and a delegation comes to inspect you. They want to know what commission you will charge. I answer, ‘If you are going to choose your agency on the basis of price, you are looking through the wrong end of the telescope. What you should worry about is not the price you pay for your agency’s services, but the selling power of your advertising.’ The selectors show scant interest in the campaigns you have produced for other manufacturers. They want to know what you could do for them, so they invite you to analyse their problems and make finished commercials. They then have your commercials tested. If you get a

higher score than your competitors, you win the account. Some agencies now spend as much as $500,000 on new business presentations. They figure that if they win and keep the account for 20 years, they may come out ahead. Agencies which don’t have the money to make such bets are at a disadvantage. This long and expensive process does not necessarily result in the selection of the best agency. The agency which would create the best advertising over a period of years may not have the luck to come up with the best campaign in the few weeks allotted to the contest. In the next chapter I will suggest a better way to go about choosing an agency. The meeting At the meeting when you make your presentation, don’t sit the client’s team on one side of the table and your team opposite, like adversaries. Mix everybody up. Rehearse before the meeting, but never speak from a prepared text; it locks you into a position which may become irrelevant during the meeting. Above all, listen. The more you get the prospective client to talk, the easier it will be to decide whether you really want his account. A former head of Magnavox treated me to a two-hour lecture on advertising, about which he knew nothing. I gave him a cup of tea and showed him out. Tell your prospective client what your weak points are, before he notices them. This will make you more credible when you boast about your strong points. Don’t get bogged down in case histories or research numbers. They put prospects to sleep. No manufacturer ever hired an agency because it increased market-share for somebody else. The day after a new business presentation, send the prospect a three- page letter summarizing the reasons why he should pick your agency. This will help him make the right decision. If you are too feeble to get accounts under your own steam, you can buy them – by buying agencies. But this practice has a way of backfiring. Adolph Toigo used it to quintuple the billings of Lennen & Newell, but he was unable to weld his acquisitions into a cohesive body. The result

was a quarrelsome confederation which ended in bankruptcy. Credit risks Watch out for credit risks. Your profit margin is too slim to survive a prospective client’s bankruptcy. When in doubt, I always ask the head of the incumbent agency. Never pay a commission to an outsider who offers to introduce new business. No client who chooses his agency on the basis of such an introduction is worth having; and there is usually dirty work at the crossroads. Six weeks after I started my agency, I was so desperate for business that I offered a young man of my acquaintance 10 per cent of our stock if he brought in a vacuum-cleaner account which he had in his pocket. If he had accepted my offer, his stock in Ogilvy & Mather would now be worth $19,000,000. A lucky escape. Some years later, when I was older and wiser, Ben Sonnenberg, the public-relations operator, asked me what percentage of our stock I would give him if he steered the Greyhound Bus account to us. When I said zero, he thought I was mad. Avoid clients whose ethos is incompatible with yours. I refused Charles Revson of Revlon and Lew Rosenstiel of Schenley. Beware of ventures which spend little or nothing today but might become major advertisers, if all goes well. Servicing such non-accounts can be expensive, and few of them make it. Yes, there are exceptions. I once made the mistake of turning down a small company which made office machinery, because I had never heard of it. The name was Xerox. The differences between agencies are less than they like to believe. Most of them can show that they have produced advertising that increased sales for some of their clients. Most have competent media departments and research departments. Thanks to inflation, almost all of them have grown in billings. So what’s the difference between them? Very often the decisive difference in new business contests is the personality of the head of the agency. Many clients went to Foote, Cone & Belding because they were impressed by Fax Cone’s style. Conversely, many failures to win accounts are caused by the fact that the prospective

client finds the head of the agency obnoxious. My personality has lost some contests and won others. Aside: I have resigned accounts five times as often as I have been fired, and always for the same reason: the client’s behavior was eroding the morale of the people working on his account. Erosion of morale does unacceptable damage to an agency. Getting multinational accounts If you get an account which also advertises in overseas markets, you stand a good chance of getting it around the world. I call this the domino system of new business acquisition. J. Walter Thompson, McCann- Erickson and Young & Rubicam built their overseas networks to meet the needs of such multinationals as General Motors, Coca Cola, Esso and General Foods. When I got the Shell account in the United States, Max Burns, the then President of Shell, asked me if I would also like to have the account in Canada. ‘Yes,’ said I, ‘but I don’t have an office in Canada.’ ‘Get one,’ said Max, and that is how I started the network which was to spread to 40 countries. In these cases your competition will be the local agencies in the countries concerned. They have a habit of wrapping themselves in their national flag and appealing to their governments for protection against us foreign invaders. They accuse us of imposing an alien culture, particularly in countries which have little culture of their own, and in some cases their appeals have been heard. The Canadian Government employs only Canadian agencies. In Nigeria, the foreign agencies have been expelled. The fact is that almost all the overseas offices of American agencies are managed by nationals who would not know how to project American culture, even if they were foolish enough to try.

Multinational accounts have propelled agencies into the international market. Shell was responsible for my building a worldwide network of agencies. This Shell ad is from Ogilvy & Mather’s Frankfurt office. The old way to start a new agency was to defect from the agency which employed you and take some clients with you. Thus Ted Bates started his agency with accounts he had handled at Benton & Bowles. But this gambit has since been hampered by a legal decision. A man called Jones had a thriving agency, but he was an alcoholic and was always falling asleep during presentations. His associates begged him to retire. When the situation became intolerable, they crossed the street and set up their own agency – with some of Jones’s clients. He sued them for conspiracy and won; they had to pay such heavy damages that they were forced to close their agency. In 1981 an agency in New Zealand took successful action against its former Managing Director and Creative Director who had walked out with 17 members of the staff and nine accounts. Gentle reader, you have been warned. With any luck, you will get accounts which grow. When I got American Express in 1962, the advertising budget was $1,000,000. It is now $70,000,000. When you are head of an agency, you know that your staff looks to you to bring in new business, more than anything else. If you fail to do so over an extended period, you sense that you are losing their

confidence, and are tempted to grab any account you can get. Don’t. Above all, don’t join the melancholy procession of agencies which always accompanies a dying brand on its way to the cemetery. When Pan American fell on hard times, they moved their account from J. Walter Thompson, who had done an exceptionally good job for 29 years, to Carl Ally. Seven years later, when they continued to decline, they moved to N. W. Ayer. Three years later, they moved to Doyle Dane Bernbach. Six months later they moved to Wells, Rich, Greene. But this kind of instability is rare. The American Telephone Company, General Motors and Exxon have employed the same agencies for more than 70 years; DuPont, General Electric, Procter & Gamble and Scott Paper have employed the same agencies for more than 50 years. It is important to know how your agency is regarded in the marketing community. Don’t trust your own ears; you will only hear favorable opinions. It is safer, if you can afford it, to have a research organization conduct an impartial survey. When they report weak spots in your reputation, you can probably correct them, but it will take longer than you expect. Opinion always lags behind reality. If you aspire to building a portfolio of accounts in a wide variety of industries, you must be able to produce different kinds of advertising. An agency which can only play the package-goods tune disqualifies itself from corporate accounts. An agency which always produces emotional advertising is unlikely to be hired by a manufacturer of power tools. The broader your range, the broader the spectrum of accounts you will get. It follows that you should recruit people with a wide range of talents. An agency should be like an orchestra, able to play anything from Palestrina to Jean-Michel Jarre with equal virtuosity. Big agencies vs. small It is very difficult for small agencies to get big accounts. They cannot afford the range of specialized departments which big accounts require – regional offices, research, sales promotion, direct mail, public relations, and so on. They cannot deploy enough bodies to match the bodies at the client end. And the risk of losing a big client scares them out of that independence of judgment which should be one of any agency’s principal values to its clients.

The other side of the coin is that the bigger an agency grows, the more bureaucratic it becomes. Personal leadership gives way to hierarchy. The head of the agency no longer recognizes his staff in the elevators. I found working at Ogilvy & Mather more agreeable when it was small, but as I aspired to handling big accounts, I had no choice but to build a big agency. However, there will always be more small accounts than big ones, so small agencies are not an endangered species. Within the limits of their resources, they can often out-perform the big ones. Creativity is not a function of size. Small can be beautiful. Physician, heal thyself It puzzles me why so few agencies advertise themselves. Perhaps it is because the partners cannot agree on what to say. Some want to improve their agency’s reputation for ‘creativity.’ Some want to impress prospective clients with their agency’s marketing skills. Some want new business leads in a hurry. Make up your mind which you want – before you start writing house ads. Direct mail is probably the most efficient medium for your house campaign. If you can scrape up the money, use space advertising as well, but don’t start it unless you mean to do it consistently. Young & Rubicam advertised in every issue of Fortune for 40 years.

Advertising agencies seldom take their own medicine, but Young & Rubicam advertised in every issue of Fortune for 40 years. This was the fifth ad in the series and the best ever run for an agency. Raymond Rubicam wrote it and Vaughn Flannery was the art director. With these house ads, Ogilvy & Mather tell potential clients about the agency’s wide-ranging expertise.

Ogilvy on Advertising - Page 93

Left alone, copywriters write house ads to impress other copywriters, and art directors make layouts to impress other art directors. But trendy layouts and fancy copy don’t impress prospective clients who have come up through finance, production or sales. Writing house ads is a job for copywriters who can think like top-level businessmen. They should also be endowed with patience; it took me 22 years to get my first house ads approved by my partners. The purpose of my ads was to project the agency as knowing more about advertising. You may argue that this strategy was ill-advised, knowledge being no guarantee of ‘creativity.’ But at least it was unique, because no other agency could have run such advertisements – they lacked the required knowledge. My ads not only promised useful information, they provided it. And they worked – in many countries. But watch out: your clients will read your house advertisements. If you boast about your genius for brilliant ideas, you run the risk that they will ask you why you don’t give them brilliant ideas.

6 Open letter to a client in search of an agency Sir or Madam, If you have decided to hire a new agency, permit me to suggest a simple way to go about it. Don’t delegate the selection to a committee of pettyfoggers. They usually get it wrong. Do it yourself. Start by leafing through some magazines. Tear out the advertisements you envy, and find out which agencies did them. Watch television for three evenings, make a list of the commercials you envy, and find out which agencies did them. You now have a list of agencies. Find out which are working for your competitors, and thus unavailable to you. By this time you have a short list. Meet the head of each agency and his Creative Director. Make sure the chemistry between you and them is good. Happy marriages fructify, unhappy ones don’t. But don’t ask to meet the working-level people who would be assigned to your account. You might find them congenial, but have no way of judging their talent. Or you might find them repulsive – some of the most talented people are. A prospective client once passed up an opportunity to hire Ogilvy & Mather because the very able copywriter to whom I introduced him had long hair. Ask to see each agency’s six best print ads and six best television commercials. Pick the agency whose campaigns interest you the most. Ask what the agency charges. If it is 15 per cent, insist on paying 16 per cent. The extra one per cent won’t kill you, but it will double the agency’s normal profit, and you will get better service. Whatever you do, don’t haggle over the agency’s compensation. I know a big corporation which insists that its agencies negotiate terms of business with its Purchasing Department, as though they were selling office furniture. Would they do this with lawyers and accountants?

Insist on a five-year contract. This will delight the agency – and protect you from being resigned if one of your competitors ever tries to seduce them with a bigger budget. Now you have your agency, are you going to get the best out of them? Clients get the advertising they deserve. I know some who are a malediction, and others who are an inspiration. Don’t keep a dog and bark yourself. When Arthur Houghton asked me to do the advertising for Steuben Glass he said, ‘We make the best glass. Your job is to make the best advertising.’ An admirable division of labor. Don’t keep a dog and bark yourself. Any fool can write a bad advertisement, but it takes a genius to keep his hands off a good one. I had just finished showing a new campaign to Charlie Kelstadt, the Chairman of Sears Roebuck, when his Comptroller came into the room, started to read my copy – and took a fountain-pen out of his pocket. ‘Put that pen back in your pocket,’ snapped Kelstadt. Once a year give your agency a formal report on its performance. This will serve as an early warning of trouble which, if ignored, could end badly for all concerned. One of the biggest corporations in the world allows five levels to chew up its advertising. Each level has the power to veto, but only the Chief Executive Officer has the power of final approval. Don’t strain your

agency’s output through more than two levels. Even the best copywriters are preternaturally thin-skinned. When you have to reject their work, do it gently, and praise them to the skies when they perform well. They are the geese who can lay golden eggs. Inspire them to keep laying. The most inspiring client I have ever had was Ted Moscoso, the economic head of the Government of Puerto Rico. The day he hired us, he said to me, ‘Before we start advertising, we have to decide what we want Puerto Rico to become. A bridge between Latin America and the United States? An oasis of old Spanish culture? A modern industrial park?’ We talked all night. On later occasions, whenever I made a suggestion which appealed to his imagination – such as starting a music festival in San Juan – Moscoso would make a note in his pocket diary; action always followed. Governor Muñoz Marín, who was Ted’s chief, would have made a good President of the United States. When their party was finally defeated, the new Republican governor moved the advertising to an agency which had handled his campaign in the election. I have never wept so bitterly. This ad was one of a series for Puerto Rico. The campaign was initiated by my most inspiring client, Ted Moscoso of the Puerto Rico Government. Click here for hi-res image and text.

Conflicts There is a convention that agencies should not serve more than one client in any category. When we do the advertising for Blogg’s Shoe Polish, we are not supposed to take on Mogg’s Shoe Polish. Some clients are fiercely jealous when their agencies violate this convention, to the point of firing them. It sounds simple, but it is a minefield. Suppose the agency has a shoe polish account, and another of its clients decides to go into the shoe polish business. What do we do? Suppose we have a shoe polish account in our Vienna office, and our Kuala Lumpur office is offered another shoe polish. What do we do? Some clients extend the definition of conflict to include any product which might indirectly reduce their sales. Suppose we have a shoe polish account and are offered a sandal account – wooden sandals, which don’t require polish. What do we do? Such conflicts as these bedevil agencies. Says Marvin Bower of McKinsey: ‘If a company rests its policy of not letting its agencies serve competitors on the need for security of information, it does not have a very solid base. As a matter of realism, the interests of competing clients would not be harmed by an almost complete exchange of information among the people serving the two competing companies. Of course, no responsible personal service firm would do that – and indeed they go to great lengths to avoid even inadvertent exchanges. Nevertheless, as one who has been a repository of confidential information over many years, I am convinced that the history, makeup, ways of doing business, attitudes of people, operating philosophy and procedures of even directly competing companies are ordinarily so different that information could be exchanged between them with no harm to either’ If I were you, I would think twice about firing my agency when it committed bigamy; another agency might not give you such good advertising. Amour propre can be an expensive luxury.

PS. If your account is too small to interest a good agency, find an experienced copywriter who has retired and pay him to do your advertising. He will enjoy getting back into harness, and welcome the money.

7 Wanted: a renaissance in print advertising ‘God is in the details’ gency people find making television commercials far more exciting A than making advertisements for newspapers and magazines. If their own talents are modest, the film producers can make them look good. In winter, they enjoy going on location at glamorous resorts, while their print colleagues are left behind in cold solitude. The other day I read a cri de cœur from a senior executive in a food company: ‘TV is so devouring a medium that you need to comb the agencies to find the old sweat who knows how to put together half-way decent print advertisements for food. The others invent food advertising all over again, without knowing which way is up. The silly thing is that there are just about infallible formulae for constructing advertisements which grab a woman’s attention and don’t let go of it until the message has been fully planted. Once these formulae are understood, even junior brand managers can assemble the makings of a hard-working food advertisement, while the bright ones will have women tearing out your ads and shoving them into kitchen drawers in a way you wouldn’t believe. Try telling this to agencies. They’ve never heard of the fundamentals of food advertising. Mention formulae to them and their frail creative souls shrivel.’ The shortage of print know-how presents a serious problem to cigarette manufacturers and others who are not allowed to use television. It also presents a golden opportunity for copywriters and art directors who take the trouble to acquire the know-how.

In this chapter I will uncork what I have learned about print advertising. But I cannot do so without repeating some of the things – still valid – I have written elsewhere. I never cease to be struck by the consistency of consumer reactions to different kinds of headline, illustration, layout and copy – year after year, country after country. The principal sources of my information are the factor analyses which I commission from Gallup and Robinson, the Starch Readership Service, the results of direct response tests, and my own observation. Headlines On the average, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy. It follows that unless your headline sells your product, you have wasted 90 per cent of your money. The headlines which work best are those which promise the reader a benefit – like a whiter wash, more miles per gallon, freedom from pimples, fewer cavities. Riffle through a magazine and count the number of ads whose headlines promise a benefit of any kind. Headlines which contain news are sure-fire. The news can be the announcement of a new product, an improvement in an old product, or a new way to use an old product – like serving Campbell’s Soup on the rocks. On the average, ads with news are recalled by 22 per cent more people than ads without news. If you are lucky enough to have some news to tell, don’t bury it in your body copy, which nine out of ten people will not read. State it loud and clear in your headline. And don’t scorn tried-and-true words like amazing, introducing, now, suddenly.

Ads with news are recalled by 22 per cent more people than ads without news. It does not have to be the announcement of a new product. It can be a new way of using an old product, as in this advertisement.

I used the word ‘darling’ in the headline for this ad because a psychologist had tested hundreds of words for their emotional impact and ‘darling’ had come out top. I was not aware that it is dangerous to use a telephone when you are taking a bath. Click here for hi-res image and text. Headlines that offer the reader helpful information, like HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE, attract above-average readership.

When you advertise in local newspapers, you get better results if you include the name of each city in your headline. People are mostly interested in what is happening where they live. I advise you to include the brand name in your headline. If you don’t, 80 per cent of readers (who don’t read your body copy) will never know what product you are advertising. If you are advertising a kind of product which is only bought by a small group of people, put a word in your headline which will flag them down, like asthma, bedwetters, women over thirty-five.

On the average, long headlines sell more merchandise than short ones. This one-word headline is the exception that proves the rule. Click here for hi-res image and text. Starch reports that headlines with more than ten words get less readership than short headlines. On the other hand, a study of retail advertisements found that headlines of ten words sell more merchandise than short headlines. Conclusion: if you need a long headline, go ahead and write one, and if you want a short headline, that’s all right too. The famous headline Lemon contributed a lot to the success of Volkswagen in the United States. Specifics work better than generalities. When research reported that the average shopper thought Sears Roebuck made a profit of 37 per cent

on sales, I headlined an advertisement Sears makes a profit of 5 per cent. This specific was more persuasive than saying that Sears’ profit was ‘less than you might suppose’ or something equally vague. Specifics are more credible and more memorable than generalities. That is why I specified that Sears’ profit is less than 5 per cent. When you put your headline in quotes, you increase recall by an average of 28 per cent. When you advertise in local newspapers, you get better results if you include the name of each city in your headline. People are most interested in what is happening where they live. A psychologist flashed hundreds of words on a screen and used an electric gadget to measure emotional reactions. High marks went to darling. So I used it in a headline for Dove. Some copywriters write tricky headlines – double meanings, puns and other obscurities. This is counter-productive. In the average newspaper your headline has to compete with 350 others. Readers travel fast through this jungle. Your headline should telegraph what you want to say. Some headlines are ‘blind.’ They don’t say what the product is, or what it will do for you. They are about 20 per cent below average in recall. Since headlines, more than anything else, decide the success or failure

of an advertisement, the silliest thing of all is to run an ad without any headline at all – ‘a headless wonder’ If you would like more guidance on writing headlines, I commend you to John Caples’ book Tested Advertising Methods (Prentice-Hall). On average, helpful information is read by 75 per cent more people than copy which deals only with the product. This ad told how Rinso gets out stains. It was read and remembered by more people than any detergent ad that had ever been researched, but it should never have run because it was ‘off strategy’ – it did not deliver the agreed selling promise that ‘Rinso Washes Whiter.’ The photograph shows different kinds of stains. The blood was my own; I am the only copywriter who has literally bled for his client. Click here for hi-res image and text. My favorite headlines

For lanolin as a cure for baldness: Have you ever seen a bald-headed sheep? For a pile remedy: Send us your dollar and we’ll cure your piles, or keep your dollar and keep your piles. Illustrations A picture, they say, can be worth a thousand words. The cowboy photographs for Marlboro, and Elliott Erwitt’s photographs in the ads for Puerto Rico and France are examples. Here are 15 ways to make your illustrations work for their living: 1 The subject of your illustration is all important. If you don’t have a remarkable idea for it, not even a great photographer can save you. 2 The kind of photographs which work hardest are those which arouse the reader’s curiosity. He glances at the photograph and says to himself, ‘What goes on here?’ Then he reads your copy to find out. Harold Rudolph called this magic element ‘Story Appeal,’ and demonstrated that the more of it you inject into your photographs, the more people look at your advertisements.

As ex-chef...

...I assumed that housewives would find the Rinso photograph as interesting as I did. They didn’t. 3 When you don’t have a story to tell, it is often a good thing to make your package the subject of your illustration. 4 It pays to illustrate the end-result of using your product. Before- and-after photographs seem to fascinate readers. In a study of 70 campaigns whose sales results were known, Gallup did not find a single before-and-after campaign that did not increase sales. 5 When I arrived on Madison Avenue, most advertisements were illustrated with drawings. Then it was found that photographs attracted more readers, were more believable, and better

remembered. When I took over the ‘Come to Britain’ advertising, I substituted photographs for the drawings which the previous agency had used. Readership tripled, and so did tourism to Britain. Direct- response advertisers find that photographs pull more coupons than drawings, and department stores find that they sell more merchandise. However, photographs reproduce so badly in some newspapers that you can get a more lifelike picture by using a line drawing. I found that scratch-board drawings sold more Thom McCan shoes than photographs. When you don’t have a story to tell in your photograph, make your product the subject of your illustration. This photograph was taken by Irving Penn, for Philippe Saalburg of FCB-Impact in Paris. 6 The use of characters known to people who see your television commercials boosts the recall of your print advertisements. 7 Keep your illustrations as simple as possible, with the focus of interest on one person. Crowd scenes don’t pull. 8 Don’t show human faces enlarged bigger than life size. They seem to repel readers. 9 Historical subjects bore the majority of readers.

10 Do not assume that subjects which interest you will necessarily interest consumers. Being a former chef, I assumed that everyone found chefs interesting – until I used them in an advertisement. I got miserable readership among the housewives who were the target audience. A friend at Campbell’s Soup told me that he too had observed that housewives were turned off by chefs. Before-and-After photographs fascinate readers, as in this advertisement from the Milan office of Ogilvy & Mather. The plant on the left has not been treated with Baysol, while the plant on the right has.

The eyepatch injects the magic element of ‘story appeal.’ The model was Baron Wrangell, who had a habit of swaying in front of the camera, so that we had to strap him to an iron pipe. 11 My brother Francis once asked a Cockney editor of the Daily Mirror (London) what kind of photographs most interested his readers. He answered, ‘Babies with an ’eart-throb, animals with an ’eart-throb, and what you might call sex.’ This is still true today. 12 When I worked for Dr. Gallup, I noticed that moviegoers were more interested in actors of their own sex than actors of the opposite sex. People want to see movie stars with whom they can identify. The same force is at work in advertisements. When you use a photograph of a woman, men ignore your advertisement.

13 Advertisements in four colors cost 50 per cent more than black- and-white, but, on the average, they are 100 per cent more memorable. A good bargain. 14 I cannot resist the temptation to quote a verse which gives valuable advice on illustration: When the client moans and sighs, Make his logo twice the size. If he still should prove refractory Show a picture of his factory. Only in the gravest cases Should you show the clients’ faces. 15 When you advertise products for use in cooking, you attract more readers if you show a photograph of the finished dish than the ingredients. Warning My former partner Douglas Haines has recently demonstrated that the illustrations in advertisements are often misunderstood. In a pilot study, he came across a woman who thought that the photograph of a luxurious hotel foyer in a cigarette advertisement was a hospital ward for cancer patients. Body copy ‘Nobody reads body copy.’ True or false? It depends on two things. First, on how many people are interested in the kind of product you are advertising: a lot of women will read copy about food products, but few will read copy about cigars. Second, on how many people have been enticed into your ad by your illustration and headline. The average readership of the body copy in magazine ads is about 5 per cent. That does not sound like a lot until you remember that 5 per cent of readers of the Reader’s Digest adds up to 1,500,000 men and women. Do not, however, address your readers as though they were gathered together in a stadium. When people read your copy, they are alone.

Pretend you are writing each of them a letter on behalf of your client. One human being to another, second person singular. Queen Victoria complained that Gladstone talked to her as if he were addressing a public meeting. She preferred Disraeli, who talked to her like a human being. When you write copy, follow Disraeli’s example. It isn’t as easy as you may think. Aldous Huxley, who was once a copywriter, said, ‘It is easier to write ten passably effective sonnets than one effective advertisement.’ You cannot bore people into buying your product. You can only interest them in buying it. It pays to write short sentences and short paragraphs, and to avoid difficult words. I once wrote that Dove made soap ‘obsolete,’ only to discover that the majority of housewives did not know what the word meant. I had to change it to ‘old-fashioned.’ When I used the word ineffable in copy for Hathaway, a reporter telephoned to ask me what it meant. I hadn’t the faintest idea. Nowadays I keep a dictionary beside my telephone.

Note the editorial layout, and the story form – both plus factors. This advertisement promised ‘If it ever fails to work, we’ll fix it free.’ Every morning hundreds of old and battered Zippos arrived in the mail. They were returned the same day, in perfect working order – and no charge.

John Caples’ famous direct-mail advertisement for the U.S. School of Musk deployed story-appeal at its most effective. When copywriters argue with me about some esoteric word they want to use, I say to them, ‘Get on a bus. Go to Iowa. Stay on a farm for a week and talk to the farmer. Come back to New York by train and talk to your fellow passengers in the day-coach. If you still want to use the word, go ahead.’ Copy should be written in the language people use in everyday conversation, as in this anonymous verse: Carnation Milk is the best in the land, Here I sit with a can in my hand.

No tits to pull, no hay to pitch, Just punch a hole in the son-of-a-bitch. Don’t write essays. Tell your reader what your product will do for him or her, and tell it with specifics. Write your copy in the form of a story, as in the advertisement which carried the headline, ‘The amazing story of a Zippo that worked after being taken from the belly of a fish.’ One of the most famous advertisements ever written was by John Caples for International Correspondence School, under the headline ‘They Laughed When I Sat Down at the Piano – But When I Started to Play …’. I advise you to avoid analogies. Gallup has found that they are widely misunderstood. If you are writing copy for a face cream and say, ‘Just as plants require moisture, so too does your skin’ readers don’t complete the equation. If you show a Rembrandt and say, Just as this Rembrandt portrait is a masterpiece, so too is our product,’ readers think you are selling the Rembrandt. Stay away from superlatives like ‘Our product is the best in the world.’ Gallup calls this Brag and Boast. It convinces nobody. If you include a testimonial in your copy, you make it more credible. Readers find the endorsements of fellow consumers more persuasive than the puffery of anonymous copywriters. Says James Webb Young, one of the best copywriters in history, ‘Every type of advertiser has the same problem: to be believed. The mail-order man knows nothing so potent for this purpose as the testimonial, yet the general advertiser seldom uses it.’

Beautiful but dumb. This ad from Switzerland would have interested more housewives if it had shown a finished dish instead of the raw ingredients. It would have been better read if it had been given a headline. And it would have been more persuasive if the copy had contained some specifics instead of vague generalities. Sometimes you can cast your entire advertisement in the form of a testimonial. My first ad for Austin cars took the form of a letter from an ‘anonymous diplomat’ who was sending his son to Groton with money he had saved driving an Austin. A combination of snobbery and economy. Unfortunately, a Time editor guessed that I was the anonymous diplomat, and asked the headmaster of Groton to comment. I had to send my son to another school.

You can cast an entire advertisement in the form of a testimonial, as in this one for Austin cars. When the headmaster of Groton discovered that the ‘anonymous diplomat’ was the author of this book, I found it expedient to send my son to another school. Testimonials from celebrities get high recall scores, but I have stopped using them because readers remember the celebrity and forget the product. What’s more, they assume that the celebrity has been bought, which is usually the case. On the other hand, testimonials from experts can be persuasive – like having an ex-burglar testify that he had never been able to crack a Chubb safe.

Testimonials from experts can be extremely effective. This advertisement by Ogilvy & Mather appeared in Singapore. Most copywriters believe that markdowns and special offers are boring, but consumers don’t think so. They are above average in recall. Always try to include the price of your products. You may see a necklace in a jeweler’s window, but you don’t consider buying it because the price is not shown and you are too shy to go in and ask. It is the same way with advertisements. When the price of the product is left out, people have a way of turning the page. When Ellerton Jetté retired as head of Hathaway and became a picture dealer, he violated tradition in the art trade by showing the price of the pictures in his advertisements. Unfortunately it is seldom possible for manufacturers to do this in their advertisements, because they cannot dictate prices to retailers. This reduces the selling power of their ads. I don’t think it matters with package goods, but it matters a lot with products which cost real money, like cars and refrigerators.

This two-page advertisement for the World Wildlife Fund appeared in the New York Times. It contains 3,232 words. I believe that all copy should be signed by the agency. This is never done in the United States, on the ground that manufacturers buy space to advertise their products, not their agencies. Short-sighted. My experience suggests that when agencies sign their ads, they produce better ones. When Reader’s Digest asked me to write an advertisement for their magazine (see this page), they specified that I had to sign it. Golly, did I work hard on that ad. Everyone was going to know who wrote it. It is now the convention for agencies in Germany and France to sign their ads. The FCB-Impact agency in Paris even gives its copywriters a by-line. Jolly good. Short copy or long? All my experience says that for a great many products, long copy sells more than short. I have failed only twice with long copy, once for a popular-priced cigar and once for a premium-priced whiskey. Here are nine examples which were successful: 1 The late Louis Engel wrote an advertisement of 6,450 words for Merill Lynch. One insertion in the New York Times pulled 10,000

responses – without a coupon. This advertisement contains 6,540 words – the most anybody has ever used in a single page. When it appeared in the New York Times, it pulled 10,000 responses to an offer of a booklet buried near the end. It was written by the late Louis Engel of Merrill Lynch. Click here for hi-res image.

Click here for hi-res image. 2 Claude Hopkins wrote an advertisement for Schlitz beer with five pages of solid text. In a few months, Schlitz moved from fifth in sales to first. 3 I wrote 700 words for Good Luck margarine. Sales responded. 4 My first ad for Puerto Rico contained 600 words (signed by Beardsley Ruml but written by me). Fourteen thousand readers sent in the coupon, and scores of them built factories in Puerto Rico. 5 A series of newspaper ads for Shell carried 800 words. Twenty-six

per cent of men read more than half of them, and Shell’s share of the market reversed a seven-year decline. 6 My partner Francis X. Houghton wrote an advertisement for US Trust which contained 4,750 words. It was a success. 7 In advertisements for Ogilvy & Mather, I used 2,500 words. They brought in a lot of new business. 8 In an advertisement for the World Wildlife Fund, I used 3,232 words. 9 In a series for Morgan Guaranty, I used 800 words. They did the bank a lot of good. For some years I used this layout in all my magazine advertisements. It gives a large photograph, a headline up to nine words, and

240 words of copy. Recommended when your illustration is to carry the main load of selling. This is my second perfect layout. It gives a wide, shallow photograph, a headline up to 20 words, a subhead up to 28 words, four or five cross-heads and 600 words of body copy. Recommended when your copy is more important than your illustration. I could give you countless other examples of long copy which has made the cash register ring, notably for Mercedes cars. Not only in the United States, but all over the world. I believe, without any research to support me, that advertisements with long copy convey the impression that you have something important to say, whether people read the copy or not. After studying the results of advertising for retailers, Dr. Charles Edwards concluded that ‘the more facts you tell, the more you sell.’ An advertisement’s chance for success invariably increases as the number of pertinent merchandise facts included in the advertisement increases.

Direct-response advertisers know that short copy doesn’t sell. In split- run tests, long copy invariably outsells short copy. But I must warn you that if you want your long copy to be read, you had better write it well. In particular, your first paragraph should be a grabber. You won’t hold many readers if you begin with a mushy statement of the obvious like this one in an ad for a vacation resort: ‘Going on vacation is a pleasure to which everyone looks forward.’ A Harvard professor used to begin his series of lectures with a sentence that took his students by the throat: ‘Cesare Borgia murdered his brother-in-law for the love of his sister, who was the mistress of their father – the Pope.’ How to become a good copywriter It is no bad thing to learn the craft of advertising by copying your elders and betters. Helmut Krone, one of the most innovative of art directors, has said: ‘I asked one of our writers recently what was more important, doing your own thing or making the ad as good as it can be. The answer was, “Doing my own thing”. I disagree violently with that. I’d like to propose a new idea for our age: until you’ve got a better answer, you copy. I copied Bob Gage for 5 years, I even copied the leading between his lines of type. And Bob originally copied Paul Rand, and Rand first copied a German typographer named Tschichold.’ I, too, started by copying. Working in a London agency, I used to copy the best American ads. Later, I began to do my own thing. Layouts Advertising suffers from sporadic epidemics of Artdirectoritis. Those afflicted with this disease speak in hushed voices of ‘cool grey bands of type,’ as if the copy in advertisements was a mere design element. They extol the importance of ‘movement,’ ‘balance’ and other mysterious principles of design. I tell them KISS – an acronym for Keep It Simple, Stupid. In the early days of Ogilvy & Mather I used the same, simple layout for all our advertisements in magazines. (See 86 and 87.) Later, when a competitor accused me of foisting a house-style on all our clients, I invented a second layout which allowed space for more copy. I challenge

you to invent a better layout than these. Readers look first at the illustration, then at the headline, then at the copy. So put these elements in that order – illustration at the top, headline under the illustration, copy under the headline. This follows the normal order of scanning, which is from top to bottom. If you put the headline above the illustration, you are asking people to scan in an order which does not fit their habit. On the average, headlines below the illustration are read by 10 per cent more people than headlines above the illustration. You may not think the difference worth writing about, but consider the fact that 10 per cent of, say, 20,000,000 readers is two million. Not to be sneezed at. Yet in 59 per cent of magazine advertisements the headlines are above. Some dopes even put their headline at the bottom, under the copy! More people read the captions under illustrations than read the ’body copy, so never use an illustration without putting a caption under it. Your caption should include the brand name and the promise.

When you have to communicate a lot of different sales points, use ‘call-outs’. They are above average in recall tests. Click here for hi-res image. Advertising people have an unconscious belief that advertisements have to look like advertisements. They have inherited graphic conventions which telegraph to the reader, ‘This is only an advertisement. Skip it.’ There is no law which says that advertisements have to look like advertisements. If you make them look like editorial pages, you will attract more readers. Roughly six times as many people read the average article as the average advertisement. Very few advertisements are read by more than one reader in twenty. I conclude that editors communicate

better than admen. Look at the news magazines which have been successful in attracting readers: Time and Newsweek in the United States, L’Express and Le Point in France, Der Spiegel in Germany, L’Espresso in Italy, Cambio 16 in Spain. They all use the same graphics: Copy has priority over illustration. The copy is set in serif type. Three columns of type, 35 to 45 characters wide. Every photograph has a caption. The copy starts with drop-initials. The type is set black on white.

Pierre Lemonnier and Philippe Saalburg at the FCB-IMPACT agency in Paris pinched my ‘editorial’ layouts and improved them. Their ads don’t look like ads.

All news magazines use the same format. Copy has priority over illustration. Three columns of type, set in serif faces. Captions under photographs. But the advertisements in these magazines do not follow any of these conventions, so very few people read them. Next time you construct an ad, pretend you are an editor; you will get more readership. Now look at the advertisements in the same magazines. You will see that: Illustrations are given priority over copy. The copy is often set in sanserif, which is hard to read; we are accustomed to serifs in books, magazines and newspapers. The copy is often set in one column of 120 characters or more – too wide to be readable.

Few of the photographs have captions, because the art directors are not aware that four times as many people read captions as read body copy. There are very few drop-initials, because the art directors are not aware that they increase readership. The copy is frequently set in reverse – white on black. I have even seen coupons in reverse; you cannot fill them out unless you have white ink in the house. Only use two-page spreads when you have a long product and need to show it horizontally, as with this hammer. If you swear off the self-indulgence of spreads, you will be able to buy twice as many ads, thereby doubling your reach or your frequency. If you pretend you are an editor, you will get better results. When the magazine insists that you slug your ads with the word advertisement, set it in italic caps, in reverse. Then nobody can read it. The FCB-Impact agency in Paris consistently produces better magazine advertisements than any other agency, and none of them look like advertisements. Hats off to Pierre Lemonnier, the copywriter who is Impact, and Philippe Saalburg who was his art director for many years. They pinched my techniques and improved them. If you abandon the conventional graphics of advertisements and adopt

editorial graphics, your campaigns will become islands of good taste in an ocean of vulgarity. Layouts are often pinned up on bulletin boards at meetings and approved at a distance of 15 feet, as if they were posters. This leads to setting headlines in 72-point, which is impossible to read at the normal distance of 20 inches. Editorial graphics also work well in newspapers. I made this launch ad for Guinness look like the front page of a newspaper. Are two-page spreads worth the cost? They cost twice as much as single

pages, but seldom get twice the readership, or pull twice as many coupons. This looks like an editorial page in the French newspaper Le Monde. Actually it is an advertisement on behalf of French sheep farmers who opposed the importation of duty-free mutton from England.

This front-page format is particularly appropriate for the announcement of a new product.

A superb example of FCB-Impact’s editorial style, this time for Mumm champagne. Occasionally there is a functional reason for using a double-spread, as when your product is a long one and has to be shown horizontally. But nine times out of ten, double-spreads are no more than self-indulgence by an art director who wants his advertisements to look big and juicy. If you swear off double-spreads, you will be able to run twice as many advertisements for the same money, thereby doubling your reach or your 1 frequency. Posters For better or worse, posters are still with us, so I had better tell you what little is known about designing them to maximum effect. There has been little or no research on the subject.

One in a series of posters that appeared in England during the thirties. They made Guinness part of the warp and woof of English life, and have never been excelled – anywhere. It pays to make your poster what Savignac called a ‘visual scandal.’ But don’t overdo the scandal or you will stop the traffic and cause fatal accidents. Your poster should deliver your selling promise not only in words, but also pictorially. Use the largest possible type. Make your brand name visible at a long distance. Use strong, pure colors. Never use more than three elements in your design. If you know more than that, please tell me.

It pays to make your poster a ‘visual scandal’, as in this British example for FCO Univas. Subway cards If it falls to you to produce advertisements for the subway, it may help to know that the average rider in the New York subway will be exposed to your advertisement for 21 minutes, which is long enough to read quite a long message. Only 15 per cent of passengers carry anything to read. The other 85 per cent have nothing to do but read your copy. Trademarks are an anachronism In olden days, before people could read, manufacturers used trademarks to identify their brands. If you saw a tiger on a bottle of beer, you knew it was Tiger beer. Many companies, unaware that consumers are no longer illiterate, still use graphic symbols to identify their brands, and insist on them being displayed in their advertisements. They add to the gadgetry which clutters up layouts, and proclaim ‘this is only an advertisement’. Readership of the advertisement is reduced.

Don’t make the mistake of designing subway cards to look like billboards – all display and only five or six words. In New York subways, the average rider is exposed to your card for twenty-one minutes and 85 per cent carry nothing else to read. That is why I wrote 76 words for this card. One of my clients was persuaded that his company’s symbol was too old-fashioned and paid a fancy firm $75,000 to design a new one. At the unveiling I whispered to one of the Vice-Presidents, ‘A tyro in our art department could have designed a better symbol for $75.’ ‘No doubt,’ he replied, ‘but we would have argued it to death.’ Typography – ‘the eye is a creature of habit’ Good typography helps people read your copy, while bad typography prevents them doing so. Advertising agencies usually set their headlines in capital letters. This is a mistake. Professor Tinker of Stanford has established that capitals retard reading. They have no ascenders or descenders to help you recognize words, and tend to be read letter by letter. The eye is a creature of habit. People are accustomed to reading books, magazines and newspapers in lower case. Look how difficult it is to read the all-caps headline in the ABN advertisement opposite. Another way to make headlines hard to read is to superimpose them on your illustration. Another mistake is to put a period at the end of headlines. Periods are also called full stops, because they stop the reader dead in his tracks. You will find no full stops at the end of headlines in newspapers. Yet another common mistake is to set copy in a measure which is too

wide or too narrow to be legible. People are accustomed to reading newspapers which are set about 40 characters wide. Which typefaces are easiest to read? Those which people are accustomed to reading, like the Century family, Caslon, Baskerville and Jenson. The more outlandish the typeface, the harder it is to read. The drama belongs in what you say, not in the typeface. Sanserif faces like this are particularly difficult to read. Says John Updike, ‘Serifs exist for a purpose. They help the eye pick up the shape of the letter. Piquant in little amounts, sanserif in page-size sheets repels readership as wax paper repels water; it has a sleazy, cloudy look.’ Some art directors use copy as the raw material for designing queer shapes, thus making it illegible. In a recent issue of a magazine I found 47 advertisements with the copy set in reverse – white type on a black background. It is almost impossible to read. If you have to set very long copy, there are some typographical devices which increase its readership: 1 A subhead of two lines, between your headline and your body copy, heightens the reader’s appetite for the feast to come. 2 If you start your body copy with a drop-initial, you increase readership by an average of 13 per cent. 3 Limit your opening paragraph to a maximum of 11 words. 4 After two or three inches of copy, insert a cross-head, and thereafter throughout. Cross-heads keep the reader marching forward. Make some of them interrogative, to excite curiosity in the next run of copy.

Capital letters are extremely difficult to read. I tried to read this advertisement but gave up.

Three examples of typography which makes it impossible to read the copy...

...and one which makes it easy to read. The headlines and copy in these advertisements would be easier to read if they had been set under the illustration, instead of on it.

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5 When I was a boy, it was common practice to square up paragraphs. It is now known that widows – short lines – increase readership. 6 Set key paragraphs in bold face or italic. 7 Help the reader into your paragraphs with arrowheads, bullets, asterisks and marginal marks. 8 If you have a lot of unrelated facts to recite, don’t use cumbersome connectives. Simply number them – as I am doing here.

Some art directors use copy as the raw material for designing queer shapes. Don’t you think that the copy would have been easier to read if set in columns? This charity raised money for starving children by running advertisements set in reverse – white type on a black background. When I suggested that they test black type on a white background, they raised twice as much money.

The prodigious Charles Saatchi wrote this advertisement and had it set in ‘reverse’ – white type on black background (left). It would have been easier to read in black type on white background (right). Anyway, bon appetit. 9 What size type should you use? This is 5-point, and too small to read. This is 14-point, and too big. This is 11-point, and about right. 10 If you use leading (line-spacing) between paragraphs, you increase readership by an average of 12 per cent. You may think that I exaggerate the importance of good typography. You may ask if I have ever heard a housewife say that she bought a new detergent because the advertisement was set in Caslon. No. But do you think an advertisement can sell if nobody can read it? You can’t save souls in an empty church. As Mies van der Rohe said of architecture, ‘God is in the details’. 1 This is one of my over-simplifications. Starch finds that on the average, two-page spreads achieve only 28 per cent higher rating than single pages, but Edwin Bird Wilson has drawn attention to the fact that two-page spreads for financial advertisers achieve an average of 150 per cent more readership than single pages. The readership of ads for low-interest products benefits more from big spaces than ads for high-interest products.

8 How to make TV commercials that sell veryone who writes about television commercials faces the same E insoluble problem: it is impossible to show them on the pages of a book. All I can do is reproduce some storyboards which illustrate my points, and pray that you can decipher them. In my chapter on print advertising, I have relied not only on research, but also on long experience. My experience in television has been more limited. True, I once won an award at the Cannes Festival, but it wasn’t a good commercial. So most of this chapter will have to rely on research, and the judgments I have formed while looking at thousands of other people’s commercials. Testimonials by celebrities are below average in their ability to change brand preference, but American Express has been running commercials like this one since 1975 — with outstanding success. They have a special element of mystery: ‘Do you know me?’

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My most valuable source of information is the factor analyses I commission at regular intervals from Mapes & Ross. They measure changes in brand preference. People who register a change in brand preference after seeing a commercial subsequently buy the product three times more than people who don’t. Research organizations also measure the recall of commercials, and this method finds favor with many advertisers. But some kinds of television commercials which get high recall scores get low scores on changing brand preference, and there appears to be no correlation between recall and purchasing. I prefer to rely on changes in brand preference. I will start by telling you about ten kinds of commercial which are found to be above average in their ability to change people’s brand preference, and three kinds which are below average. Above average 1 Humor. Conventional wisdom has always held that people buy products because they believe them to be nutritious, or labor-saving, or good value for money – not because the manufacturer tells jokes on television. Claude Hopkins, the father of modern advertising, thundered, ‘People don’t buy from clowns’ I think this was true in Hopkins’ day, and I have reason to believe that it remained true until recently, but the latest wave of factor-analysis reveals that humor can now sell. This came as a great relief to me; I had always hated myself for rejecting the funny commercials submitted for

my approval. My favorite from the brilliant series of nostalgic commercials for Hovis bread by the British agency Collett Dickenson Pearce.

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This wrinkled old peasant was cast as the heroine in French commercials for washing machines. She came to be recognized by three out of four people in France, and sales of the product jumped from fourth place to second. But I must warn you that very, very few writers can write funny commercials which are funny. Unless you are one of the few, don’t try. 2 Slice of life. In these commercials one actor argues with another about the merits of a product, in a setting which roughly approximates real life. In the end, the doubter is converted – your toothpaste really does give children healthier teeth. These playlets have been successful in case after case. Copywriters detest them because most of them are so corny – and because they have been in such wide use for such a long time. But some agencies have succeeded in producing slices which are not only effective at the cash register, but realistic and charming. 3 Testimonials. The most effective testimonial commercials are those which show loyal users of your product testifying to its virtues – when they don’t know they are being filmed. The interviewer pretends to find fault with the product and the loyal user rises to its defense with far more conviction than if you simply asked him what he thought of it. Here is an example: The scene is the forecourt of a Shell station. We see an actor disguised as the man on the pump.

Announcer: ‘This man is an imposter. He’s not really a Shell dealer. He’s going to see if he can talk our customers out of buying Super Shell. Let’s watch through this hidden camera.’ Shell dealer: ‘I’ll bet you get bad mileage with Super Shell.’ Mrs. Longo, a customer: ‘It’s good. I’ll tell you where a penny saved is a penny earned.’ Shell dealer: ‘Aw, come on. What do you know about gasoline?’ Mrs. Longo: ‘You see this little dog I have back here? I bought this little dog because it saves money on food. Now I can save on Super Shell.’ Shell dealer: ‘Bunk! B-U-N-K.’ Mrs. Longo: ‘You are absolutely wrong. That is the best gasoline. Why, if I were them, I would fire you’. Announcer: ‘We’ll give him another chance because he got you to say nice things about Super Shell.’ When you pick loyal users to testify, avoid those who would give such polished performances that viewers would think they were professional actors. The more amateurish the performance, the more credible. A French agency picked an 80-year-old laundress as the heroine in a campaign for washing machines. This keg-shaped, wrinkled old woman came to be recognized by three out of four people in France, and sales of the washing machine went from fourth place to second. This French commercial demonstrates how well Super Glue-3 works by applying it to the announcer’s shoes and hanging him upside down from the ceiling. Super Glue-3 became the brand-leader and the commercial won First Prize at the Cannes Festival.

The use of unusual characters increases the power of commercials to change brand preference by a remarkably high percentage. 4 Demonstrations which show how well your product performs are above average in their ability to persuade. Demonstrations don’t have to be dull. To demonstrate how strong

paper-board can be, International Paper spanned a canyon with a bridge made of paper-board – and then drove a heavy truck over it. The Paris office of Ogilvy & Mather demonstrated the strength of a client’s glue by applying it to the soles of the announcer’s shoes and hanging him upside down from the ceiling – from which position he delivered his sales pitch. A successful example of using a character to reinforce the authenticity of your product.

If you use a demonstration to compare your product with your competitor’s, think twice before identifying the competitor by name. It is illegal in Germany, but the US Government encourages it as providing

information which will help the consumer make an informed choice. Studies conducted by Ogilvy & Mather found that commercials which name competing brands are less believable and more confusing than commercials which don’t. There is a tendency for viewers to come away with the impression that the brand which you disparage is the hero of your commercial. 5 Problem solution. This technique is an old as television. You show the viewer a problem with which he or she is familiar, and then show how your product can solve it. One of the best problem-solution commercials I have seen was made in Madras for Train matches. It starts by showing a man unable to strike ‘ordinary’ matches in the muggy climate of southern India. He goes mad with impatience. Then his cool, beautiful wife comes to the rescue with a box of Train matches which strike immediately. 6 Talking heads. This is the derisive name given to commercials which consist of a pitchman extolling the virtues of a product. Agency people find them non-creative, and are sick of them, but several advertisers still use them because they are above average in changing brand preference. Talking heads are particularly appropriate for announcing new products. More than a hundred new brands of cigarette have been introduced in Germany in recent years, and the only one which succeeded was launched by a talking head. Perhaps the most persuasive talking head of all time is John Houseman saying, ‘Smith Barney make money the old-fashioned way. They earn it.’ As a former door-to-door salesman, I shall go to my grave believing that, given two minutes on television, I could sell any product on the face of the earth. Any offers? 7 Characters. In some commercials, a ‘character’ is used to sell your product over a period of years. The character becomes the living symbol of the product – like Titus Moody, the crusty old New England baker who has been extolling the quality of Pepperidge Farm bread for 26 years, or Cora, who sold Maxwell House coffee for seven years. Provided they are relevant to your product, characters are above average in their ability to change brand-preference.

8 Reason why. Commercials which give the viewer a rational reason why they should buy your product are slightly above average. When Maxim Instant Coffee was launched, the commercials said Maxim was superior because it was freeze-dried. Nine out of ten advertising people will tell you that consumers don’t give a hoot about how products are made. They may be right, but the process of freeze-drying was sufficiently new and interesting to persuade many viewers to try the coffee. 9 News. Commercials which contain news are above average. But even when they have news to tell, which is all too rare, some copywriters underplay it, or leave it out altogether. They should be boiled in oil. Products, like human beings, attract most attention when they are first born. For an old product, you can create news by advertising a new way to use it, like using baking soda to keep refrigerators smelling sweet. 10 Emotion. Researchers have not yet found a way to quantify the effectiveness of emotion, but I have come to believe that commercials with a large content of nostalgia, charm and even sentimentality can be enormously effective. The commercials for Hovis bread in Great Britain and Blitz-Weinhard beer in Oregon strike me as among the most persuasive I have seen. (See this page, this page.) Emotion can be just as effective as any rational appeal, particularly when there is nothing unique to say about your product. ‘But,’ says my partner Hal Riney, ‘here is where things get sticky. Most clients – and I’m afraid most agency people – think the rational appeals for their products are much more important than the consumer thinks they are. If your advertising is going to be successful, if it is going to stand out from the clutter, you must be objective about the benefits of your product. What exactly are the “benefits” of candy bars, cigarettes, soda pop and beer?’ I hasten to add that consumers also need a rational excuse to justify their emotional decisions. So always include one. Above all, don’t attempt emotion unless you can deliver it. Below average 1 Testimonials by celebrities. These are below average in their ability to

change brand preference. Viewers guess that the celebrity has been bought, and they are right. To get Farrah Fawcett for three years, Fabergé is reported to have paid $2,000,000. Bob Hope, Gregory Peck, Candice Bergen and Dean Martin charge about $1,000,000 each. The spokesman everyone wants is Walter Cronkite, but he isn’t available at any price. However, for a beggarly $10,000 you can get Ronald Biggs who escaped from jail after being convicted for his part in England’s Great Train Robbery. He lives in Brazil. Viewers have a way of remembering the celebrity while forgetting the product. I did not know this when I paid Eleanor Roosevelt $35,000 to make a commercial for margarine. She reported that her mail was equally divided. ‘One half was sad because I had damaged my reputation. The other half was happy because I had damaged my reputation.’ Not one of my proudest memories. I paid Mrs. Roosevelt $35,000 to make a commercial for margarine. Here she is telling viewers, ‘The new Good Luck margarine really tastes delicious’. In those days I did not know that it is a mistake to use celebrities. They are remembered but the product is forgotten. 2 Cartoons can sell things to children, but they are below average in selling to grown-ups. They don’t hold the viewer as well as live action,

and they are less persuasive. Two commercials were made for a fabric-softener. One used live action, the other used cartoons. The cartoon commercial had no effect on the downward trend in sales. The live-action commercial reversed it. The funniest commercial I have ever seen, by Doyle Dane Bernbach for Volkswagen. I used to reject funny commercials on the grounds that people don’t buy from clowns. Now research shows that humor sells as efficiently as other techniques. Click here for hi-res image and text. 3 Musical vignettes, with a parade of fleeting impressions, were once fashionable, but are on their way out. Entertaining, perhaps, but impotent if you want to sell. Sixteen tips 1 Brand identification. Research has demonstrated that a shocking percentage of viewers remember your commercial, but forget the name of your product. All too often they attribute your commercial to a

competing brand. Many copywriters think it crass to belabor the name of the product. However, for the benefit of those who are more interested in selling than entertaining, here are two ways to register your brand name: Use the name within the first ten seconds. I have seen a brilliant commercial which repeated the brand name twenty times in 340 seconds, without irritating anyone. Play games with the name. Spell it. Veterans will remember Alex Templeton, the blind pianist, spelling out the name C.R.E.S.T.A. B.L.A.N.C.A. to the accompaniment of pizzicato strings. When you advertise a new product, you have to teach people its name on television. 2 Show the package. Commercials which end by showing the package are more effective in changing brand preference than commercials which don’t. 3 Food in motion. In commercials for food, the more appetizing you make it look, the more you sell. It has been found that food in motion looks particularly appetizing. Show chocolate sauce in the act of being poured over your ice cream, or syrup over your pancakes. 4 Close-ups. It is a good thing to use close-ups when your product is the hero of your commercial. The closer you get on the candy bar, the more you make people’s mouths water. 5 Open with the fire. You have only 30 seconds. If you grab attention in the first frame with a visual surprise, you stand a better chance of holding the viewer. People screen out a lot of commercials because they open with something dull. You know that great things are about to happen, but the viewer doesn’t. She will never know; she has gone to the bathroom. When you advertise fire-extinguishers, open with the fire. 6 When you have nothing to say, sing it. There have been some successful commercials which sang the sales pitch, but jingles are below average in

changing brand preference. Never use a jingle without trying it on people who have not read your script. If they cannot decipher the words, don’t put your jingle on the air. If you went into a store and asked a salesman to show you a refrigerator, how would you react if he started singing at you? Yet some clients feel short-changed if you don’t give them a jingle. Many people use music as background – emotional shorthand. Research shows that this is neither a positive nor a negative factor. It does no harm and it does no measurable good. Do great preachers allow organists to play background music under their sermons? Do advertising agencies play background music under their pitch to prospective clients? 7 Sound effects. While music does not add to the selling power of commercials, sound effects – such as sausages sizzling in a frying-pan – can make a positive difference. A commercial for Maxwell House was constructed around the sound of coffee percolating. It worked well enough to run for five years. 8 Voice-over or on-camera? Research shows that it is more difficult to hold your audience if you use voice-over. It is better to have the actors talk on camera. A manufacturer made two commercials, identical in every respect except that one used voice-over and the other used on-camera voice. When he tested them, the voice-on-camera version sold more of his product. 9 Supers. It pays to reinforce your promise by setting it in type and superimposing it over the video, while your soundtrack speaks the words. But make sure that the words in your supers are exactly the same as your spoken words. Any divergence confuses the viewer. Many people in agencies resist the use of supers. If you tell them that they increase sales, as they do, the stupid buggers turn a deaf ear. 10 Avoid visual banality. If you want the viewer to pay attention to your commercial, show her something she has never seen before. You won’t have

much success if you show her sunsets and happy families at the dinner table. The average American family has the television turned on for six hours a day, and is exposed to 30,000 commercials a year. Most of them slide off the memory like water off a duck’s back. For this reason you should give your commercials a touch of singularity, a visual burr that will stick in the viewer’s mind. One such burr was the herd of bulls thundering towards the camera, with the superimposed title: ‘Merrill Lynch is bullish on America.’ 11 Changes of scene. Hal Riney uses a great many scenes without confusing people, but I can’t, and I bet you can’t either. On the average, commercials with a plethora of short scenes are below average in changing brand preference. 12 Mnemonics. This unpronounceable word is used to describe a visual device repeated over a long period. It can increase brand identification, and remind people of your promise. Example: the car driving through the paper barrier in Shell commercials. 13 Show the product in use. It pays to show the product being used, and, if possible, the end-result of using it. Show how your diapers (nappies) keep the baby dry. In a commercial for motor oil, show how the pistons look after 50,000 miles. 14 Everything is possible on TV. The technicians can produce anything you want. The only limit is your imagination. 15 Miscomprehension. In 1979 Professor Jacoby of Purdue University studied the ‘miscomprehension’ of 25 typical television commercials. He found that all of them were miscomprehended, some by as many as 40 per cent of viewers, none by fewer than 19 per cent. If you want to avoid your television commercials being misunderstood, you had better make them crystal clear. I cannot understand more than half the commercials I see. 16 The great scandal. Television programs cost about $4 a second to produce, but commercials cost $2,000 a second. Which is $60,000 for a

30-second commercial. This obscene extravagance is largely the fault of the agencies. Says Hooper White, ‘Production dollars are typed into the commercial by the copywriter and drawn into the commercial by the art director.’ Miner Raymond of Procter & Gamble tells the story of an art director who objected to a table on the set. The client pointed out that it was covered by a cloth and thus invisible. ‘But I would know what’s under the cloth’ said the art director, ‘and it just wouldn’t be right.’ So another table was 1 found and the delay cost the client $5,000. The easiest way to reduce the cost of a commercial is to cut actors out of the storyboard. Every actor you cut will save you between $350 and $ 10,000, depending on how long you run the commercial. Copywriters specify that a commercial should be shot in Bali When it could equally well be shot in a studio for half the price. They insert expensive animation into live-action commercials. They insist that original music be composed for background purposes, as if there were nothing suitable in the whole repertoire of existing music. Worst of all, they use expensive celebrities when an unknown actor would sell more of the product. I have no research to prove it, but I suspect that there is a negative correlation between the money spent on producing commercials and their power to sell products. My partner Al Eicoff was asked by a client to remake a $15,000 commercial for $100,000. Sales went down. Radio – the Cinderella medium Once upon a time, I spent six months studying radio at the feet of John Royal, the pioneering head of programming at NBC. In those days every family in America tuned in to Jack Benny, Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, Fred Allen, Amos and Andy, Burns and Allen. Some of us also listened to Roy Larsen’s marvellous March of Time, and Toscanini conducting the NBC Symphony Orchestra. All this was swept away by television. For most people radio has become no more than a security blanket, a reassuring noise in the background. Radio has become the Cinderella of advertising media, representing only 6 per cent of total advertising in the United States. There is no

research to measure the efficacy of the commercials, so nobody knows what works. A pilot study I commissioned suggests four positive factors: 1 Identify your brand early in the commercial. 2 Identify it often. 3 Promise the listener a benefit early in the commercial. 4 Repeat it often. Ninety commercials out of a hundred do none of these things. In my opinion – and it is nothing more than that – the first thing your radio commercial has to do is to get people to listen. Surprise them. Arouse their curiosity. Wake them up. Once they are awake, talk to them as one human being to another. Involve them. Charm them. Make them laugh. Here is the script of a radio commercial in a series which increased the sale of Red, White and Blue Beer by 60 per cent: This beer commercial, written by my partner Hal Riney, is the best example I know of the use of emotion in advertising.

ANNOUNCER: And now, another inflation-fighting message from Mr Harmon R. Whittle. WHITTLE: One of the biggest strains on our budget is the foreign aid program. Each year, we send billions of dollars worth of planes, computers, tractors and things to foreign countries … Then we pay

technical advisers to train them how to use it all. This is expensive. A more responsive form of foreign aid would be to send them beer. American-made Red, White and Blue beer. Red, White and Blue is less expensive than planes or computers. So we’d save a bundle, right off. It costs less than other premium- quality beer, so we’d save on that. And Red, White and Blue is easier to teach people to use than a computer. So we’d save on technical advisers, too. And if there’s any doubt whether our international popularity would increase, ask yourself this: if you lived in one of those hot, dusty countries, what would you rather have? A computer, or an ice-cold, Red, White and Blue? It’s an honest beer. At an honest price. ANNOUNCER: Mr Whittle’s comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this station. They do however, reflect the views of the RWB Brewing Company, Milwaukee. Because radio is a high-frequency medium, people quickly get tired of hearing the same commercial. So make several. Compared with television, radio commercials cost almost nothing to produce. In some developing countries radio still reaches more people than television. Yet even there nobody really knows what kind of commercials make the cash register ring. Isn’t it time somebody tried to find out? 1 For more information about what goes on during the filming of commercials, read Michael Arlen’s book, Thirty Seconds, Farrah, Straus & Giroux, 1980

9 Advertising corporations ‘With public opinion on its side, nothing can fail’ - Abraham Lincoln nce upon a time, the head of a big corporation went into Cartier’s O and ordered a diamond bracelet for his wife. ‘Send the bill to my office,’ said he. Nothing doing – Cartier had never heard of his corporation. The next morning he instructed his agency to prepare a corporate advertising campaign. Eighty-one out of the hundred biggest American corporations advertise their corporations as distinct from their products, and spend about $500,000,000 a year in the process. Most of them make a hash of it. However, if well planned and executed, corporate advertising can be a profitable investment. Opinion Research Corporation has found that people who know a company well are five times more likely to have a favorable opinion of it. Corporate advertising can improve the morale of your employees; who wants to work for an outfit that nobody has ever heard of? It can also make it easier to recruit better people, at all levels. And, I believe, it can make your corporation a more seductive suitor in takeover bids. Discretion stops me naming a rich corporation which has recently failed in several takeover bids because its image is unattractive. Can corporate advertising make a good impression on the investment community? Yes it can, and this is the unspoken purpose of most such campaigns. A study conducted at Northwestern University examined the stock performance of 731 corporations, and found that corporate advertising had an average positive influence of 2 per cent on the price of their stock. If you think this trivial, reflect that if a corporation has a market value of forty billion dollars – and some do – that extra 2 per

cent adds up to $800,000,000. Not to be sneezed at. DuPont has run corporate advertising for 47 years, General Electric for 62 years, American Telephone for 75 years, US Steel for 46 years, and Container Corporation for 50 years. But the majority of corporate advertising campaigns are aborted too soon to achieve any measurable objective. You cannot rely on short-term advertising to turn the title of hostile public opinion in your favor, to boost the price of your stock or to put a halo around your reputation. In 1941, when Texaco was accused of selling oil to the Nazis, they assumed sponsorship of the Metropolitan Opera on radio, but it took a long time for this lovely antidote to exorcize their bad publicity.

This advertisement summarizes the case for corporate advertising. Click here for hi-res image. Most corporate campaigns are short-lived because they don’t start with any clear objective, and because research is not used to track their progress. A glowing exception is DuPont, who for many years measured progress after each television program. Corporate campaigns seldom have more than one supporter – the Chief Executive Officer. He alone has the vision to recognize its long- term value. His marketing executives regard any diversion of advertising dollars from their products as a frivolous waste of money, and his financial officers cast greedy eyes on the appropriation whenever there

is a short-fall in earnings. Sears devotes most of its gigantic advertising budget to price-off merchandise, but in 1961 I persuaded them to add a campaign which would burnish their corporate image by promulgating their policies. Some of their executives thought it was a pansy waste of money because it did not directly sell merchandise, but Chairman Kelstadt took a longer view. When Joe Cushman succeeded Kelstadt, he told me, ‘my father was ashamed when I went to work for Sears. Today, nobody is ashamed to work for Sears. Thank you.’ The copy in most corporate advertisements is distinguished by a self- serving, flatulent pomposity which defies reading, and agencies waste endless hours concocting slogans of incredible fatuity. Consider these beauties: Diamond Shamrock: The resourceful company. Honeywell: The automation company. Boise Cascade: A company worth looking at. Georgia Pacific: The growth company. Dravo: A company of uncommon enterprise. Textron: THE company. (sic) General Motors: People building transportation to serve PEOPLE.

Toyota: Serving PEOPLE’S needs in a hundred basic ways. Firestone: As long as Firestone keeps thinking about PEOPLE, PEOPLE will keep thinking about Firestone. Siemens: Siemens turns ideas into PEOPLE. ITT: The best ideas are the ideas that help PEOPLE. General Electric: 100 years of progress for PEOPLE. Western Electric: We make things that bring PEOPLE closer. US Steel: We’re involved. Crown Zellerbach: We help make it happen. Sperry Rand: We understand how important it is to listen. Rockwell International: Where science gets down to business. J. C. Penney: We know what you’re looking for. Chemetron: We’re basic to success.

More image-building for Sears. Who would expect Sears to sell mink? Notice that all these bromides are interchangeable – any company could use any of them. They generally appear at the bottom of advertisements, where nobody reads them, and, by cluttering up the layout, they reduce readership of the copy. Many corporate campaigns fail because they are under-funded. Companies which spend millions on advertising their brand names are curiously stingy when it comes to their corporate campaigns. The most sensible way to set the budget is to ‘analyse the task.’ How much will it cost to achieve a specific goal among a specific audience? Another common mistake is to confine the campaign to magazines and

newspapers. When you add television, tracking studies record a dramatic increase in penetration. A word of warning to Chief Executive Officers: if you appear in your own commercials, you will be recognized wherever you go and thus become an easier target for kidnappers. More serious, you may not say your lines as well as a professional announcer. Alphabet soup Whatever you do, for goodness sake, don’t change the name of your corporation to initials. Everybody knows what IBM, ITT, CBS and NBC are, but how many of the following can you identify: AC, ADP, AFIA, AIG, AM, AMP, BBC (Brown Boveri and British Broadcasting), CBI, CF, CNA, CPT, CEX, DHL, FMC, GA, GE, GM, GMAC, GMC, GTE, HCA, IM, INA, IU, JVC, MCI, NIB, NCP, NCR, NDS, NEC, NLT, NT, OPIC (not to be confused with OPEC), TIE, TRW, UBS. Yet this is how 37 corporations sign their advertisements. It will take them many years and many millions of dollars to teach their initials to their publics. What a waste of money. Can advertising influence legislation? William H. Vanderbilt, the railroad tycoon, used to say, ‘The public be damned.’ Abraham Lincoln thought otherwise: ‘With public opinion on its side, nothing can fail. With public opinion against it, nothing can succeed.’ Where do people get their information on public issues? Largely from television, and less from the newscasts than from folk heroes like Robert Blake and Jane Fonda. Ms. Fonda says things like this on television: ‘You’d better get the guts to stand up to the black shadow of oil before it spills across your desk, oozes into your campaign coffers, seals your ears and blackens your hearts. Because if you do not hear our cries now, you will harvest the grapes of wrath.’ Just try writing advertisements which can deal with this kind of rhetoric. In recent years corporations have been using advertising in attempts to influence public opinion on such issues as energy, nationalization and

foreign imports. The trouble is that very few readers believe what corporations say. In 1979-80, the Media Institute studied the image of businessmen as they are portrayed in television programs. Two out of three are portrayed as foolish, greedy or criminal. They are seldom shown doing anything socially useful. (I know many businessmen who devote so much time to ‘socially useful’ things, it’s a wonder their stockholders put up with it.) This campaign emphasized IBM’s involvement in people’s daily lives – in this case, how IBM helped speed up traffic in New York’s rush hour. Click here for hi-res image and text. Most senior executives are curiously unaware of what goes on in the liberal community. As a recent article in the Harvard Business Review said, ‘While businessmen were minding their own business, intellectuals were busy developing a powerful case against capitalism.’ Political and social naïveté can be a handicap when companies run into political difficulty. Some advertising campaigns seem to have been successful in influencing legislation. Bethlehem Steel, for example, used advertising to win public support for their position on imported steel. I am told that it helped the passage of a bill protecting the steel industry.

When the forest industry was under attack by environmentalists for being irresponsible in its use of national resources, Weyerhaeuser used television advertising to demonstrate that they are highly responsible. Research indicated that the advertising worked. The attacks abated. Ads like this helped pass a bill protecting the industry against the dumping of foreign steel. A few years ago, the British Labour Party announced their intention to nationalize the banks. Six months of well argued advertising produced good research numbers, and the banks have not been nationalized. For three years Eli Lilly used television advertising to argue the case against legislation that would have required doctors to prescribe generic medicines. It is thought that the campaign may have helped to head off this threat to their bread and butter. Advertising whose purpose is to influence public opinion is more likely to be successful if it follows these principles: If the issue is complicated, and it almost always is, simplify it as much as you reasonably can. For example, the consumer is bombarded with confusing

information about what food is nutritious, or even safe. In 1981 General Foods ran a series of advertisements which gave people simple advice on the subject. A classic example of simplifying a complicated issue was the headline on a Chesapeake and Ohio advertisement: ‘A Hog Can Cross the Country Without Changing Trains – But YOU Can’t!’ But watch out. Simplistic distortion can insult people’s intelligence and do you more harm than good. This corporate campaign was created to please the governments of countries in which Esso did business. Click here for hi-res image and text. Present your case in terms of the reader’s self-interest. For some years Mobil has been trying to influence public opinion by running exceptionally trenchant advertisements. The head of Mobil says that they have produced positive results, but I have reason to think that they work better with the well-educated minority than with the public at large. The advertisements make little or no appeal to the ordinary citizen’s self- interest.

In the author’s judgment, this is the best corporate campaign by any retailer. The copy was written by Leslie Pearl, and appeared in the New York Times three times a week for 26 years. Woven into the copy was the idea that Wallachs not only sold superior clothes, but also gave unusually attentive, personal and friendly service. Before the campaign started, a survey was conducted to see how men rated the men’s clothing stores in New York. Wallachs came in last. Ten years later Wallachs headed the list.

This may well be the best advertisement about a public issue that has ever appeared. Click here for hi-res image.

A corporate advertisement in a series by Ogilvy & Mather for General Foods. A complicated subject expounded with simplicity. ARMCO used corporate advertising to tell the people in Houston what they were doing about pollution in the ship channel.

Mobil seeks to influence public opinion in advertisements which are remarkable for their no-holds-barred copy. They appeal to the educated minority. Disarm with candor. ARMCO had a reputation as the worst polluter in Houston. They tackled the problem with advertising that told how they had changed their ways. It produced a measurable improvement in their reputation. Give both sides of the issue. In confronting the anti-highway and anti-strip- mining pressure groups, Caterpillar Tractor gave both sides of the issue. Know who your target is. You can reach Congressmen and others in the Federal Government with a campaign that need not cost more than $800,000 a year, but it Won’t do you much good. Unless legislators know that you are talking to their constituents, they turn a deaf ear. As Ralph Nader is reported to have said, ‘If you are weak on the streets, you are weak.’ When Congress was considering a windfall profits tax on oil companies, several of them ran argumentative advertisements directed to Congressmen. But social and political pressures were so great, and demagoguery so rampant, that the bill was enacted. The campaign might

have worked if it had started earlier, if it had been addressed to the general public, and if it had been written with more balance. Many corporations have told me that they need only reach ‘thought- leaders’ – the people who influence other people. This sounds sensible, and not too expensive. The problem is that nobody really knows who the thought-leaders are. Bishops? Bartenders? Political busybodies? Garrulous taxi-drivers? Thought-leaders are spread throughout the population. In most cases your only hope of making a dent on public opinion is to advertise to the public at large – and to use television. Television is the battleground on which public opinion is formed. Container Corporation started advertising in 1937. The campaign was a succès d’estime among highbrow laymen, but I denounced it as an exercise in pretension. Forty-five years later the campaign is still running, and I have come to think it is one of the best corporate campaigns that has ever appeared. Even when I don’t read the copy, I recognize the sponsor – like recognizing a man who dresses unlike other men. He looks different, so he must be different. There lies the secret; the campaign has differentiated Container Corporation. Bad news If your purpose is to affect legislation, the Internal Revenue Service does

not allow the cost of your advertising to be treated as a business expense. Worse still, the television networks will not accept ‘advocacy’ advertising. So you have to use local spots, market by market. You will probably end up with a combination of local television, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and some upper-crust magazines. Most advocacy campaigns are too little and too late. They are addressed to the wrong audience, lack a defined purpose, don’t go on long enough, are weak in craftsmanship, and advocate a hopeless cause. So they fail. Advocacy advertising is not a job for beginners.

1 0 How to advertise foreign travel am supposed to be the Grand Panjandrum of travel advertising, I because of my campaigns for Come to Britain, Come to France, Come to the United States, and Come to Puerto Rico. I have also done advertising for various carriers, including Cunard, P&O and KLM. And for American Express, who provide the financial oil that keeps international travel going. When you undertake to advertise a foreign country, you have to be prepared for a lot of political flak. Research told me that what American tourists most wanted to see in Britain was history and tradition – Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace, Oxford, that kind of thing. So that is what I featured in the advertisements, only to be slaughtered in the British press for projecting an image of a country living in the past. Why did I not project a progressive industrial society? Why did I not feature the nuclear power stations which the British had just invented? Because our research had shown that American tourists had no desire to see such things, that’s why. When our campaign started, Britain was the fifth most visited European country among American tourists. Today it is first. Not long ago, a Labour Government decreed that the ‘Come to Britain’ advertisements should feature only those areas of Britain which were economically depressed, the idea being that foreign tourists would cure unemployment. I had to point out that Birmingham, Liverpool and Wigan could not compete with Venice, Paris and Amsterdam. When we started advertising the United States in Europe, we used research to find out what the Europeans would most like to see. The answer was Manhattan, Grand Canyon, San Francisco, Niagara Falls and cowboys. So these were the attractions we featured in the advertisements – until the US Travel Service instructed us to feature

scenes of South Dakota. One of the Senators from that State was on the Senate Committee which voted the advertising budget. When we took over the French Government’s tourism advertising in the United States, the French politician who was our client was not on speaking terms with the brilliant cabinet minister who was his boss, and we got caught in the middle. For 24 countries, foreign tourists represent one of the three biggest sources of foreign exchange, but the majority of foreign governments fail to give their departments of tourism enough money to advertise. This is true of Germany, Italy, Holland, Spain, Belgium, Scandinavia and scores of others. The exceptions are Canada, Britain, Greece, Ireland and some of the Caribbean islands. For a few years Congress voted a niggardly appropriation for the US Travel Service, but before long even that dried up. Sometimes you will find it advisable to change the image of the country you advertise. My beloved Puerto Rico had the most unfortunate image of all. Research revealed that Americans who had never been there believed it to be dirty, ugly and squalid. When our advertisements showed it as it really is, beautiful and romantic, the tourists arrived in droves. When you advertise countries which are little known, it pays to give the reader a lot of specific information – as in this newspaper ad for Singapore.

Click here for hi-res image. While most advertising for countries should be designed to plant a long-term image in the reader’s mind, there are occasions when it can be used ad hoc, to solve temporary problems. In 1974 American newspapers were full of reports of shortages of electricity in Britain, enough to discourage Americans who did not relish spending their vacation in the dark. The end of the shortage was not reported in the press, but it was announced in our advertisements, and research showed a satisfactory decrease in anxiety among prospective visitors. At another period it was learned from research that Americans were concerned about high prices in Britain. This was met by advertising the actual prices of hotels and restaurants. One of a series for the Peruvian airline, Faucett. They pulled 20,000 requests for a brochure offered at the end of the copy.

When American tourists got worried about high prices in Britain, this newspaper ad published some actual prices.

In 1974 American tourists were discouraged from visiting Britain by newspaper reports of an acute shortage of electricity. This ad announced the end of the shortage.

When you advertise a foreign country, illustrate things that are unique to that country. This marvelous copy was written by Bob Marshall. Click here for hi-res image and text. Perhaps the most important factor in the success of tourism advertising is the subjects you choose to illustrate. My advice is to choose things that are unique to the country concerned. People don’t go half the way round the world to see things they can equally well see at home. If you want to persuade the Swiss to visit the United States, don’t advertise ski resorts. If you want Frenchmen, don’t advertise American food. Some countries are afraid that foreign tourists will mess up their cultural environment. Some years ago a prayer was read from the pulpit

in every church in Greece, asking the Almighty to spare the Greeks from the ‘scourge’ of foreign tourism. When I was in Crete not long ago, it was obvious that this prayer had not been answered. Bermuda, which might easily have been turned into another Miami Beach, has had the wisdom to aim its advertising at the kind of Americans they would like to have. Research revealed that American visitors to Britain wanted to see Westminster Abbey and other historical buildings more than anything else. This powerful advertisement was written by my former partner, Clifford Field. Click here for hi-res image and text.

Bermuda advertises scenes designed to appeal to the kind of visitors it wants.

The biggest obstacle to tourism in Puerto Rico was its image. Research showed that people believed it to be the dirtiest, poorest, most squalid island in the Caribbean. Nothing could have been further from the truth, and this I demonstrated in advertisements. Tourism increased by leaps and bounds. Click here for hi-res image and text. Most people who travel abroad have had at least a smattering of college education and are unashamed culture-vultures – especially the wives. When they go to Europe, they collect museums, cathedrals, chateaux and so on. An exception was the Texan who told me: ‘The tour operator had us spend two days in Venice. What is there to see in Venice? When you’ve seen the glass factory, there isn’t anything else.’ A friend of mine was reluctantly persuaded by his family to visit cathedrals all over Europe. A few days after his return to Minneapolis, he felt it his duty to show me his own cathedral. ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘we have the damn things here too.’ People dream about visiting foreign countries. The job of your advertising is to convert their dreams into action. This can best be done by combining mouth-watering photographs with specific how-to-do-it information. You show a photograph of an ancient Oxford college, and tell the reader how much it costs to go and see it. When you are advertising little-known countries, it is particularly important to give people a lot of information. In a two-page newspaper advertisement for Singapore we told readers about what to wear, the weather they could expect, the language, the food, costs, every mortal thing.

The best photograph in the history of travel advertising evokes rural France in masterly fashion. Taken by Elliott Erwitt under the inspiration of Bill Bernbach.

To attract tourists to Jamaica, Doyle Dane Bernbach created a campaign which is a classic of travel advertising. Click here for hi-res image. For most Americans, cost is the biggest obstacle, followed, I believe, by fear. Fear that they won’t be able to communicate. Fear that they will lose their money. Fear of the foreigners; research has found that Americans believe the British to be polite, honest and aloof, and the 1 French to be rude, immoral and dirty. Fear of the food. Do your best to allay these fears. Patterns of travel are peculiarly subject to fashion. The Virgin Islands may be all the rage one year, Hawaii the next. Try to put your country on the map, with headlines like Suddenly everyone is going to Ruritania.

By writing the headline in French – with a translation underneath – I got high readership, and differentiated France from other tourist destinations. Tourism advertising works well in magazines, but it can work even better on television. Doyle Dane Bernbach’s commercials for France were enchanting. I particularly remember one which sought to persuade American tourists to visit the French provinces. ‘When you’ve seen France, you will never go back to Paris.’ I believe that charm works well in tourism advertising. And differentiation. If you write your headlines in French, everybody will know you are advertising France. 1 Two Frenchmen were driving through the Cotswolds in England. One said to the other, ‘You must admit this is a very beautiful country.’ ‘Yes,’ replied his friend, ‘it is beautiful. Thank God they can’t cook it.’

1 1 The secrets of success in business-to-business advertising It used to be called trade advertising, or industrial advertising, but its practitioners have taken to calling it ‘business-to-business,’ which sounds classier. It means products that people buy for their companies, not for themselves. I will tell you what I have learned about it, drawing heavily and gratefully on research conducted by McGraw-Hill. Print McGraw-Hill tells us that the average salesman’s call costs $178, a letter $6.63 and a phone call $6.35, while you can reach a prospect through advertising for only 17 cents. Admittedly an advertisement, however efficient, can seldom close a sale itself. Its function is to pave the way for salesmen, by pre-selling your product and attracting leads. In industrial companies there are an average of four ‘buying influences.’ Your sales force is unlikely to know all four. Sixty per cent of ‘specifiers’ – people who set down the specifications that must be met – read advertisements to learn what’s on the market. By and large, the advertising techniques that work in this kind of advertising are the same as the techniques that work in consumer advertising – like promising the reader a benefit, news, testimonials, and helpful information. Make sure that what you promise is important to your customer. A supplier of computer software was proud of the size of his company and wanted to make it the feature of his advertising, but research found that his customers were not interested in size. They were looking for responsiveness, support, service – and a good product. Make your promise specific. Instead of generalities, use percentages, time elapsed, dollars saved. You are talking to engineers. Testimonials work well, as long as they come from experts in reputable

companies. A testimonial from Bud Dacus impresses tugboat engineers because Bud has worked the Mississippi for 25 years – longer than Mark Twain. Demonstrations are most effective when they compare your product’s performance with your competitors’. Try to devise a simple demonstration that your reader can perform himself, like inviting him to scrape the liner of your air-duct with a coin to see how tough it is. Testimonials work well when they come from recognized experts in well-known companies. News works well. It appears that readers scan the advertisements in technical journals looking for new products. To my surprise, a McGraw-

Hill study found that advertising is twice as effective as an article in the same journal. Be sure to proclaim your news, loud and clear. Information that is useful to the reader in his job can also be effective, provided the information involves your product. For example, you can show the reader how to calculate the amount of money he could save by using your product. Some copywriters, assuming that the reader will find the product as boring as they do, try to inveigle him into their ads with pictures of babies, beagles and bosoms. This is a mistake. A buyer of flexible pipe for offshore oil rigs is more interested in pipe than anything else in the world. So play it straight. Layouts should be simple, avoiding the arty devices dear to second-rate art directors – like type which is too big to be readable, eccentric designs and headlines at the bottom of the page. If you make your ads look like editorial pages, you will get more readers. Far more. Some copywriters, assuming that the reader will find the product as boring as they do, try to inveigle him into their ads with pictures of babies, beagles and bosoms. A mistake. Headlines get five times the readership of the body copy. If your headline doesn’t sell, you have wasted your money. Your headline should promise a benefit, or deliver news, or offer a service, or tell a significant story, or recognize a problem, or quote a satisfied customer.

Body copy is seldom read by more than 10 per cent of the readers of a publication. But that 10 per cent consists of prospects – people interested enough in what you are selling to take the trouble to read about it. What you say to them determines the success of your advertisement. When you advertise bubblegum or underwear, there isn’t much to say, but a computer or a generator calls for long copy. Don’t be afraid to write it. Long copy – more than 350 words – actually attracts more readers than short copy. In business publications four-color ads cost only a third more than black and white, but they attract twice as many readers. Four-color is a good buy. Captions should appear under all your photographs. Twice as many people read them as read body copy. And use your captions to sell. The best captions are mini-advertisements in themselves. Television Business-to-business advertisers are turning increasingly to television. The audiences for many sports and news programs include a high percentage of business people and are therefore efficient buys. The principles that apply to consumer advertising on television are equally valid for business-to-business commercials.

It pays to devise a demonstration that your readers can perform for themselves, like this one. Click here for hi-res image. News and demonstrations work particularly well. Even humor has its place, as in the hilarious Ally and Gargano commercials for Federal Express. But it is worth noting that the humor in these commercials always supports the powerful end promise: ‘Federal Express – when it absolutely has to be there overnight.’ Some products used by business cannot be sold in 30 seconds. In such cases, I advise you to sacrifice frequency to delivering a thorough sales message. For IBM computers we used three minutes. Many small business-to-business advertisers shy away from television because commercials cost so much to produce, but inexpensive commercials can be highly effective – if they come directly, to the point and offer something of genuine interest. I have seen a television commercial for an industrial product produce so many inquiries that it had to be taken off the air; the salesmen couldn’t handle any more. One commercial for another industrial product produced more inquiries in two months than print advertising had produced in a year. (However, the print advertising produced a higher rate of conversion to sales.) Differentiating commodity products Many industrial products are thought to be little more than commodities, with no apparent differences between them. How do you differentiate your bolts, washers or machine tools from those of your competitors? But, says Professor Levitt, ‘there is no such thing as a commodity. All goods and services are differentiable.’ In a Harvard Business Review article, Professor William K. Hall reported on a study of eight industries, from steel to beer. The most successful companies were those that best differentiated their product or service. According to Professor Hall, the most successful commodity products differentiated themselves in one of two ways: either by low cost or by having the best reputation for quality or service. Advertising can help you spread the news about any price advantage you may have, and it can work wonders in creating a reputation for quality or service. Before 1972, Owens-Corning sold its insulation to builders for use in new homes. In those days insulation was all the same – a commodity.

And so the Owens-Corning advertising looked pretty much like its competitors. Later, when fuel prices went up and construction of new homes went down, Owens-Corning differentiated its insulation as the brand of choice for owners of old homes who want to reduce their fuel costs. This was done by latching onto an apparently unimportant feature: the unique color of the Owens-Corning product. Today Owens-Corning Fiberglas has escaped from the ‘commodity trap.’ It has by far the best reputation for quality among all insulation material, being preferred 3 to 1 over the second brand. How to stimulate inquiries McGraw-Hill reports that nearly all inquiries come from people who have a specific need or application in mind; and a substantial percentage of them buy within six months of their inquiry. Always put a toll-free number in your advertisements, to make the inquiry as fast and as easy as possible. In the United States, seven out of ten readers of trade journals now use such numbers. Include a business reply card and a coupon requesting more information. This combination guarantees you the greatest number of productive inquiries. In addition, close your body copy with your offer, your address and phone number. The average business publication is read by three readers besides the subscriber. If the first reader cuts out the coupon, the others cannot respond to the offer without the second address. Analyse your inquiries Analyse your inquiries and the action they produce. This will enable you to answer your boss’s inevitable question: ‘What tangible results am I getting from my advertising?’ Here are three ways to analyse inquiries: 1 Survey a sample of inquirers. Do they intend to buy your product? To bide their time until a salesman calls? Or simply to keep your product in mind for the future? 2 Question the sales people who follow up the inquiries. Did the inquiry lead to a sale? Was this account a new prospect? How did the salesman rate this prospect – a one-time sale, a growth account,

a dead end? The discovery of a single major sale resulting from an inquiry can do more than anything else to demonstrate the value of your advertising. 3 Relate inquiries to the media that produced them. This can help you fine-tune your media selection. By doing this, one manufacturer was able to reduce his advertising budget by 25 per cent. An effective strategy in business advertising is to show the reader how he can calculate the money your product would save him. This advertisement got the highest readership everywhere it ran, and brought hundreds of requests for reprints. Click here for hi-res image and text. Advertising to top management Many business purchases require approval from top management as well as the purchasing agent. Top managers may not respond to, or even understand, the details that are important to the specifiers. They are only interested in the broad benefits – particularly cost savings. It sometimes pays to run separate campaigns – one addressed to top management, the other to the specialists who read trade publications.

1 2 Direct mail, my first love and secret weapon With tips on direct advertising in magazines and television ne day a man walked into a London agency and asked to see the O boss. He had bought a country house and was about to open it as a hotel. Could the agency help him to get customers? He had $500 to spend. Not surprisingly, the head of the agency turned him over to the office boy, who happened to be the author of this book. I invested his money in penny postcards and mailed them to well-heeled people living in the neighborhood. Six weeks later the hotel opened to a full house. I had tasted blood. From that day on, I have been a voice crying in the wilderness, trying to persuade the advertising establishment to take direct mail more seriously and to stop treating its practitioners as noncommissioned officers. It was my secret weapon in the avalanche of new business acquisitions which made Ogilvy & Mather an instant success. Today, direct mail has exploded – an explosion caused more than anything by computers. They make it possible to select names from mailing lists by every imaginable demographic classification, by frequency of purchase and by amount of purchase. With a computer you can remove duplication between mailing lists and within a list – a process called ‘merge and purge.’ You can even avoid mailing to people who don’t like receiving mailings. Computers make it possible for every letter in a mailing of millions to include the name of each addressee, not only in the salutation, but several times in the body of the letter. Most direct-response buying is now done with a credit card, and the companies that issue the cards know who has bought what. If you have

charged a trip to Disney World in Florida, I can send you a mailing for Disneyland in California. The biggest users of direct mail are magazine publishers in search of subscriptions, catalog houses, food stores, department stores, record clubs and book clubs. It has been estimated that total sales by direct mail in the United States are now more than a hundred billion dollars a year. Unfortunately, there are a lot of fly-by-night frauds in the direct-mail business, including, say the New York Times, ten thousand phoney ‘pastors.’ In 1980, 1,500,000 consumers complained to the Better Business Bureau about firms which had failed to deliver the merchandise they had ordered, or had delivered it too late or in damaged condition. In the whole spectrum of marketing, direct mail is where you find the swindlers. That said, the vast bulk of advertising by direct mail is on the level. Advertisers who distribute their products in the normal way, through wholesalers and retailers, have great difficulty in isolating the results of their advertising from the other factors in their marketing mix, but direct-mail advertisers can measure the results of their mailings to the dollar. This makes it possible for them to test everything they do. In direct mail, testing is the name of the game. You can test every variable in your mailings and determine exactly its effect on your sales. But because you can only test one variable at a time, you cannot afford to test them all. So you have to choose which to test. Experienced practitioners always test some variables, but seldom those which experience has taught them make little difference in results. Next to the positioning of your product, the most important variables to be tested are pricing, terms of payment, premiums and the format of your mailing. The price you ask and the terms of payment you offer are critical, and they can be tested by sample mailings. A highbrow magazine tested three terms of payment for subscriptions. In one, the subscriber was asked to pay $65 for 56 issues. In another, $42.50 for 39 issues. In the third, $29.95 for 29 issues. Guess which won? Although it cut the price 40 per cent, the third generated 35 per cent more net revenue. When collections of Moscow Olympic Games silver, gold and platinum coins were sold by direct mail, a mailing which offered only the silver coins led to more sales of the complete collection than a mailing which

offered the complete collection itself. When your profit margin allows, it pays to offer a free premium. Always test different premiums. One of the most effective is cash prizes in sweepstakes. Sweepstakes, premiums, free offers, and low prices will build up your initial response, but the customer who is attracted by these devices is not always the customer who turns into a long-term buyer. Asking for the full price and cash with the order will reduce the number of people who respond. But it may turn up more customers who are likely to stay with you over the years. Only testing will tell. The more you test, the more profitable your direct mail will become. Once you have evolved a mailing which produces profitable results, treat it as the ‘control’ and start testing ways to beat it. Try adding a premium, or putting in an expiration date, or adding enclosures – like a personalized letter from your President. They cost money, but if they increase your profit, why worry? Sometimes an expensive control can be made less expensive without reducing your orders. You can test a smaller mailing piece, or eliminate the personalization, or print your brochure in two colors instead of four, or eliminate the brochure altogether. You may be in for a pleasant surprise. Less can be more. Innovations, provided you test them, can work wonders. Prospects for a new Cessna Citation business jet were surprised when we sent them live carrier pigeons, with an invitation to take a free ride in a Citation. The recipient was asked to release our carrier pigeon with his address tied to its leg. Some of the recipients ate the pigeons, but several returned alive, and at least one Citation was sold – for $600,000.

This direct-mail shot for Moscow Olympic Games silver coins worked well. Click here for hi-res image and text. My brother Francis wrote a letter in Greek to the headmasters of private schools, selling cooking stoves. When some wrote back that they could not read Greek, he sent them another letter – in Latin. This produced orders. Successful mailings do not always depend on premiums, brochures and other such paraphernalia. I have seen letters produce satisfactory results all by themselves. But they have to be long letters. When Mercedes-Benz were saddled with 1,170 obsolete diesels, we mailed a five-page letter and unloaded the surplus. For Cunard we used an eight- page letter with marked success. Direct response advertising in magazines and television So far this chapter has been about direct mail. Now I am going to tell you what I have learned about a parallel science – advertisements in magazines and on television which invite people to send their orders direct to you, without going to a store. In print advertisements, your headline is the most important element. The other day I saw one headline produce five times as many orders as another. If your headline promises your strongest and most distinct benefit, you are on your way to success.

Good photographs of your product cost more than bad ones, but they also sell more. When you want to show something that cannot be photographed, like cutaways of the inside of your product, use a drawing. Long copy sells more than short copy, particularly when you are asking the reader to spend a lot of money. Only amateurs use short copy. Cross-heads give breathing space to your copy, and make it more readable. They should be written in such a way that skimmers get the main points of your sales story. Testimonials increase credibility – and sales. If one testimonial tests well, try two. But don’t use testimonials by celebrities, unless they are recognized authorities, like Arnold Palmer on golf clubs. Winston Churchill said, ‘Short words are best, and the old words when short are best of all.’ This applies in spades to mail order copy. Set your copy in black type on white paper. You will already know how much I loathe ‘reverse type’ – white on black – for the very good reason that it reduces readership. There are only two exceptions. People read theater programs in the dark, holding them up against the light coming from the stage, so they are easier to read when set in reverse. So are slides projected onto a screen. Readers often skip from the headline to the coupon, to find out what your offer is. So make your coupons mini-ads, complete with brand name, promise and a miniature photograph of your product. Many readers tell themselves they will mail the coupon ‘later,’ but never get around to it. One survey showed that twice as much response is lost in this way as is received by the advertiser. Here are four ways to keep your prospects on the hook: ‘Limited edition’ ‘Limited supply’ ‘Last time at this price’ ‘Special price for promptness’ It used to be thought that the more cluttered your layout, the more you would sell. My observation has been the opposite. Tidy, well-organized layouts actually increase coupon returns.

Where to advertise You know exactly how many inquiries, and ultimately how many orders you get from each insertion in each publication. One magazine may perform twice as well as another. Such variations can be enough to make the difference between profit and loss. Watch the media your competitors use, in particular the media they continue to use. Watch for editorial changes in magazines. They may attract your kind of reader, or may drive them away. Go easy on two-page spreads. They cost twice as much as single pages, but seldom produce twice as many orders. Test different units of space, like a page and a business reply card versus a page alone. Although the card may double the cost, it can sometimes generate four times as many orders as the page alone. This advertisement, written by Vic Schwab, sold a million books in three years – by mail order. The promise in the headline and the content of the copy were irresistible.

James Webb Young was the creative head of J. Walter Thompson for 40 years. In his spare time he ran a mail-order business in Santa Fe under the name Webb Young, Trader. This is one of his advertisements, and an object lesson in mail-order advertising. One insertion in Life sold 26,000 ties.

What parent could resist this British direct-mail advertisement. The copywriter was David Abbott.

This advertisement announces the opening of a Direct Response office. Note the long copy, stuffed with specific information. Click here for hi-res image. When you advertise repeatedly in the same magazine, response rates almost always drop. In some magazines, your ad may make a profit six times a year, while you may be able to use other magazines twelve times before they become unprofitable. Television It may surprise you to know that the right kind of television commercial can persuade people to order products by mail or telephone – mostly telephone. The ‘right kind’ are those which set up a problem and

demonstrate how your product can solve it; give a money-back guarantee; include the price; and ask for the order, explicitly and urgently. The demonstrations should promise not one benefit, but several. (This runs counter to the Procter & Gamble formula.) My partner Al Eicoff has had more experience than anyone in selling direct on television. He has almost never seen a commercial shorter than two minutes produce profitable sales. These marathon commercials don’t seem to irritate people as much as a cluster of short ones – ‘like five salesmen knocking on the door, one after another.’ You must allow 20 seconds to give information on how to order. This is long enough to give your toll-free telephone number and post office box number, complete with supers; and to repeat the charge-free telephone number at least twice. Most advertisers measure their purchases on television time by cost per thousand viewers reached, but Eicoff measures them by the number of orders he receives each time a station broadcasts one of his commercials. He then eliminates the time periods and the stations that don’t pay off. The most productive times are early morning, late evening and weekends. January, February and March are the most profitable months. The better the program on which your commercials appear, the fewer sales you make. When viewers are bored by an old movie, they are more likely to pick up the telephone and order your product than when they are riveted by an episode of Dallas. Remember, there is no correlation between the size of your audience and the number of orders you receive. Every chapter in this book is of necessity an over-simplification of a more-or-less complicated subject, and no more so than this one. If you want to know more about direct response, start by reading Successful Direct Marketing Methods by Bob Stone, published by Crain Books in Chicago.

1 3 Advertising for good causes And raising money for charity orty years ago, the advertising establishment in the United States set F up the Advertising Council to provide free campaigns for US Savings Bonds, the Red Cross and other good causes. In 1979, the media gave $600,000,000 worth of free time and space to the Council’s campaigns, and the agencies charged nothing for their services. In 1980, the Council’s campaign to encourage co-operation with the Census received $38,000,000 worth of free time and space. This admirable system has one drawback: the success of each campaign depends on the generosity of the media, which cannot be predicted. The system in Britain is more controllable: the government provides the money. Here are six examples of advertising for good causes. World Wildlife Fund During a period of five years, Ogilvy & Mather begged $6,500,000 worth of free advertising from media for the World Wildlife Fund – in 16 countries. New York Philharmonic In 1957 the New York Philharmonic was low in the water. The musicians were demoralized, playing to half-empty houses. My simple solution was to buy a page in the New York Times and publish the complete schedule for the coming season, in advance. Years later, someone who was in a position to know told me that this had done as much as Leonard Bernstein to put the Philharmonic back on its feet.

United Negro College Fund A letter was distributed in commuter trains leaving Grand Central Station for the affluent suburbs. It began: ‘When this train emerges from the tunnel at 108th Street this evening, look out of the window’. What the commuters saw was the black slums of Harlem. In a single evening this letter produced contributions of $26,000 for the United Negro College Fund. During a period of five years, Ogilvy & Mather begged $6,500,000 worth of free space for the World Wildlife Fund in 16 countries. The ads produced only modest contributions of cash in the mail, their function being to sensitize the public for more personal methods of fund-raising. Click here for hi-res image.

Sierra Club Howard Gossage, the most articulate rebel in the advertising business, held that advertising was too valuable an instrument to waste on commercial products. He believed that it justified its existence only when it was used for social purposes. One of his advertisements for the Sierra Club, opposing a hydroelectric project in Grand Canyon, pulled 3,000 applications for membership at $14 each. To raise money for the United Negro College Fund, I had this letter put on every seat in the commuter trains leaving Grand Central Station for the affluent suburbs. It produced $26,000 in a single evening. The idea came from Bill Phillips, later Chairman of Ogilvy & Mather. Click here for hi-res image.

In 1957 the New York Philharmonic was playing to half-empty houses. My simple solution was to buy space in the New York Times and publish the complete program for the coming season in advance. This worked. Teenage alcoholism in Norway In 1974 the Norwegian Government started an advertising campaign to reduce alcoholism among teenagers. The first advertisements were aimed at boys and girls between the ages of 14 and 16, with headlines such as ‘I vomit almost every time I drink’. Readership was the highest ever recorded in Norway. Later, the campaign was modified to address parents, explaining why children drink and the risks they run, with headlines like: ‘The average Norwegian 16/17-year-old drank 155 bottles of alcohol last year. Parents should know what damage their

children are risking.’ More than 70 per cent of Norwegian parents read these advertisements, and the campaign triggered a massive discussion in the media. Drinking among teenagers decreased for the first time in many years. In 1966, a group of Arizona Senators proposed a Bill which would have approved the flooding of part of the Grand Canyon for an unnecessary hydroelectric project. Howard Gossage’s agency in San Francisco ran a campaign for the conservationist Sierra Club who opposed it. His first ad pulled 3,000 applications for club membership – and the hydroelectric project was scrapped. Gossage believed that advertising justified its existence only when used for social purposes. The most articulate rebel in the advertising business, he said things like-this: ‘I love the advertising business. I truly do, although it’s no business of a grown man. I love it because it’s such a lovely Augean stable to clean up.’ Click here for hi-res image and text. Cancer in India

In 1978 a survey in Bombay revealed that knowledge of the causes, symptoms and treatment of cancer was abysmally low. Then the Indian Cancer Society asked my Indian partners to mount an advertising campaign. The purpose of the campaign was to change attitudes from ignorance and fatalism to understanding and optimism. Only then could people be persuaded to have regular check-ups at the free clinics of the Society. The theme was one of hope: ‘Life after cancer … it’s worth living’. The advertisements showed real people who had been cured. Within two months, the number of check-ups given by the clinics tripled. (See this page.) Two in a series of advertisements created by the Oslo office of Ogilvy & Mather on the subject of teenage alcoholism. Left The headline quotes a 14-year-old girl: ‘I vomit almost every time I drink.’ Readership was the highest ever recorded in Norway. Right The headline reads: ‘The Norwegian 16/17-year-old drank 155 bottles of alcohol last year. His parents should know the damage he risks.’ More than 70 per cent of Norwegian parents read these advertisements, and drinking among teenagers decreased for the first time in many years. Raising money Before you rush off to your favorite charity and volunteer to raise money by running advertisements, I must warn you that it is rare for any advertisement, however powerful, to bring in enough direct contributions to pay for the cost of the space.

What advertising can do, is to ‘sensitize’ the market, thus making it easier to raise money by more personal methods of solicitation. It is difficult to persuade people to give money to a charity unless they know something about it.

1 4 Competing with Procter & Gamble Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? f you are going to advertise disposable diapers, fabric softeners, I cleansers, toothpaste, soap or dishwashing liquids, you are going to find yourself up against Procter & Gamble. They have market shares of at least 40 per cent in all these categories, plus powerful positions in shampoo, cake mix, coffee, anti-perspirants and home permanents. They spend $700,000,000 a year on advertising, more than any other company, and their sales are $12,000,000,000 a year. Your chances of competing successfully against this juggernaut will be improved if you understand the reasons for its overwhelming success, so I am going to tell you what my partner Kenneth Roman has learned about them. First, P&G is disciplined. Their guiding philosophy is to plan thoroughly, minimize risk, and stick to their proven principles. To get a broad trial quickly, they distribute home-delivered samples on a massive scale. In 1977 their Chairman said, ‘The largest part of our initial investment is usually in the form of introductory sampling.…Only when satisfied customers have had firsthand experience with the product will the elements of the marketing mix, such as advertising and selling, be fully productive.’ They never enter small categories unless they expect them to grow, and they set out to dominate every category they enter. By building huge volume, they achieve lower manufacturing costs than their competitors, and this gives them higher profit margins, or permits them to sell at a lower price. They often enter more than one brand in a category, and allow each brand to compete with its sibling – with no holds barred.

They use market research to identify consumer needs. Says Ed Harness, their former Chairman, ‘We are forever trying to see what lies around the corner.…We study the consumer and try to identify new trends in tastes, needs, environment and living habits.’ Most important of all, they have a way of creating products which are superior to their competitors’. And, by blind in-home tests, they make sure that the superiority is apparent to the consumer. Says Harness, ‘The key to successful marketing is superior product performance.…If the consumer does not perceive any real benefits in the brand, then no amount of ingenious advertising and selling can save it.’ When they launch new brands, they advertise them heavily, and they support their successful brands with large budgets – $29,000,000 for Crest, $24,000,000 for High Point, $19,000,000 for Pampers, $17,000,000 for Tide, and so on. Their test-marketing is unbelievably thorough – and patient. They tested Folger’s regional expansion program for six years before moving into the East. ‘Patience,’ says their President, ‘is one of the virtues of this company.’ They would rather be right than first. Only three products in the history of P&G have gone national without being test-marketed for at least six months. Two of them failed. My admiration for their advertising principles is boundless, not least because they are the same as my own. They use research to determine the most effective strategy, and never change a successful strategy. Their strategies for Tide, Crest, Zest and Ivory Bar have not changed for thirty years. They always promise the consumer one important benefit. When they perceive that there is an opportunity to increase sales by promising more than one, they sometimes run two campaigns at the same time – often in the same medium. They believe that the first duty of advertising is to communicate effectively, not to be original or entertaining, and they measure communication at three stages: before the copy is written, after the commercials are produced, and in test markets. But, unlike me, they do not believe that testing can measure persuasion. All their commercials include a ‘moment of confirmation’. They show a woman squeezing the Charmin and attesting to its softness. They show a housewife observing that Era gets out grease spots.

In 60 per cent of their commercials they use demonstrations, showing how Bounty absorbs more liquid, how Top Job cleans better than straight ammonia, how Zest leaves no film. Their commercials talk directly to the consumer, using language and situations that are familiar to her. If the product is for use in the bathroom, they show it in a bathroom, not in a laboratory. They go to great pains to communicate the brand name, verbally and visually. Most of their names are short and simple. They appear within the first ten seconds of the commercial, and an average of three times thereafter. Their commercials deliver the promise verbally, and reinforce it with supers. And they usually end with a repetition of the promise. They tend to use a lot of words, sometimes more than a hundred in a 30-second commercial. When Procter & Gamble uses a continuing character to sell a brand, he or she is always an unknown actor or actress, never a celebrity. Less than half their commercials include a ‘reason why’. They have come to think it sufficient to show consumers what the product will do for them, without explaining why it does it. Very often they also show the users of their products deriving some emotional benefit. Like ‘You’ll be more appreciated if you use Dash.’ They use television techniques which have been proved to sell – however much their agencies may regard them as old hat. Notably slices of life, user testimonials and talking heads. Until 1976, Procter & Gamble eschewed music, but they are now using it, albeit in only 10 per cent of their commercials. And they now use a touch of humor in some of their commercials. While their commercials are often extremely competitive, they do not spend their money naming competing brands. They refer to ‘the other leading detergent’. Once they have evolved a campaign that works, they keep it running for a long time, in many cases for ten years or more. But they continually test new executions of the ongoing strategy. Once they establish an advertising budget, they continually test higher levels of expenditure. Only 30 per cent of their budgets go into prime evening time. The rest is divided between daytime and fringe. Instead of using 30-second spots

exclusively, they have been using an increasing number of 45s, finding that the extra 15 seconds allows for better ‘situation development’ and ‘viewer involvement’. Almost all P&G brands are advertised throughout the year. They have found that this works better than ‘flighting’ – running them six weeks on, six weeks off. It also provides considerable cost savings. After competing with P&G in several categories for 30 years, my respect for their acumen knows no bounds. However, they are not infallible. They can be beaten, for all their research and all their testing. Some of their products have failed, including Teel liquid detergent, Drene shampoo, Big Top peanut butter and Certain bathroom tissues. Their Achilles’ heel is their consistency. They are always predictable. It helps to win battles when you can anticipate the enemy’s strategy. The best of all ways to beat P&G is, of course, to market a better product. Bell Brand potato chips defeated P&G’s Pringles because they tasted better. And Rave overtook Lilt in less than a year because, not containing ammonia, it is a better product. I cannot refrain from adding that both these giant-killers are advertised by guess who?

1 5 18 Miracles of research dvertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals A who ignore decodes of enemy signals. Before I became a copywriter, I was a researcher. I delivered the first paper on copy-testing in the history of British advertising. Later I ran Dr. Gallup’s Audience Research Institute in Princeton, predicting how many people would see movies before they were produced, measuring the ability of the stars to sell tickets at the box office, and so on. The best fun I ever had was in the early days of Ogilvy & Mather, when I was both Research Director and Creative Director. On Friday afternoons I wrote research reports to the Creative Director. On Monday mornings I changed hats, read my reports and decided what to do about them – if anything. In due course I was able to afford the services of Stanley Canter, a far better researcher. It took Stanley only ten days to get me out of his department. Like I always say, hire people who are better than you are. Here are 18 of the miracles research can perform for you: 1 It can measure the reputation of your company among consumers, security analysts, government officials, newspaper editors, the academic community. 2 Using mathematical models, research can estimate the sales of new products, and the advertising expenditures required to achieve maximum profits. The Hendry, Assessor, Sprinter, ESP and News models are sufficiently reliable to tell you whether your product warrants the expense of test marketing. (About 60 per cent of new products fail in test markets.) 3 Research can get consumer reactions to a new product when it is still

in the conceptual state. After one of our clients had invested $600,000 in developing a line of food products for senior citizens whose digestions were deteriorating, our research found a notable lack of enthusiasm among the old parties concerned. When I reported this disappointing news to the client, I was afraid that, like most executives faced with inconvenient research, he would argue with our methodology. I underestimated him. ‘Dry hole’, said he, and left the meeting.

This chart from the author’s Continuing Audit of Marquee Values analysed Ronald Reagan’s popularity at the height of his career as a movie-star. 4 Once a product is ready for market, research can tell you how consumers rate it compared with the products they are now buying. If they find your product inferior, send it back to your Research and Development people. 5 Research can tell you what formulation, flavor, fragrance and color will appeal to most consumers. 6 Research can find out which of several package designs will sell best. While you’re about it, find out if people can open your package. I shall

never forget Cornelia Otis Skinner demonstrating to a big food company that she could not open their products without a pair of pliers. 7 Research can help you decide the optimum positioning for your product. 8 Research can define your target audience. Men or women. Young or old. Rich or poor. Education. Life style. Media habits. 9 It can find out what factors are most important in the purchase decision, and what vocabulary consumers use when talking about your kind of product. 10 Research can determine what ‘line extension’ is likely to sell best. After Dove carved out a profitable niche in the soap market, Lever Brothers fell to wondering what other products could be marketed under the same name. Research revealed that a liquid for washing dishes stood the best chance, and it was successfully introduced. 11 Research can warn you when consumers show signs of finding an established product less desirable than it once was. Maybe they have noticed that you have been using cheaper ingredients; they usually do. 12 Research can save you time and money by ‘reading’ your competitor’s test markets – even his cost of goods and profit margin. All the information is there to get, if you know where to find it. 13 Research can determine the most persuasive promise. ‘Promise, large promise is the soul of an advertisement,’ said Samuel Johnson. When he auctioned off the contents of the Anchor Brewery he made the following promise: ‘We are not here to sell boilers and vats, but the potentiality of growing rich beyond the dreams of avarice.’ Dr. Johnson was right 200 years ago, and there is abundant evidence that he is still right today. Advertising which promises no benefit to the consumer does not sell, yet the majority of campaigns contain no promise whatever. (That is the most important sentence in this book. Read it again.) Only last year Starch reported that advertisements with headlines that

promise a benefit are read by an average of four times more people than advertisements that don’t. In my experience, the selection of the promise is the most valuable contribution that research can make to the advertising process. One method is to show the consumer a number of promises, telling him or her that each promise is for a new product. The consumer is asked to rate the promises for importance and uniqueness. Another technique, which I prefer, is not favored by researchers, perhaps because it is so simple and does not require their services. You write two advertisements for your product, each with a different promise in the headline. At the end of the copy you offer a free sample of the product. You then run the advertisements in a newspaper or magazine, in such a way that half the circulation gets one headline, and the other half gets the other headline. The headline which draws the more applications for a sample wins the test. This technique, which is called split-run, was invented by Richard Stanton. Its merit is that it tests promises in the context of advertisements, instead of the unreal context of an interview. But you can only test two headlines at a time. Try to find a promise which is not only persuasive, but also unique. For example, ‘makes a perfect cup of coffee every time’ may get the highest score on persuasion, but it is not unique. You may find that ‘gets you clean’ is the winning promise for a soap, but I doubt if it is sufficiently unique to make the cash register ring. Sometimes you will find that the promise which wins your test is already being used by one of your competitors. Poor you. 14 Research can tell you which of several premiums will work best. When thirty-five different premiums were tested by Shell, steak knives won. Different designs of steak knives were then tested. When I suggested that packets of shells from Sanibel Island should be offered to motorists who used Shell credit cards, I was coldly informed that shells had been tested and had received a very low score. In France, they were used as the premium without being tested, and flopped. 15 Research can tell you whether your advertising communicates what you want it to communicate. Keep in mind E. B. White’s warning, ‘When you say something, make sure you have said it. The chances of your

having said it are only fair’ 16 Research can tell you which of several television commercials will sell the most. What is the best technique for pre-testing television commercials? This is the most controversial issue in the advertising business, but there is common agreement among researchers that testing for recall is for the birds. Yet, for reasons which escape me, most advertisers still insist on using it. It has four shortcomings: A Nobody has been able to demonstrate a relationship between recall and sales. B Some commercials which score about average on recall, score below average on their ability to change the viewer’s brand preference. Celebrity commercials, for example, usually score above average on recall and below average on changing brand preference. C It is too easy for the copywriter to cheat. ‘When I want a high recall score,’ says my partner David Scott, ‘all I have to do is to show a gorilla in a jock strap.’ D It is open to question whether recall tests even measure recall. I believe they measure the viewer’s ability to articulate what he or she recalls, which is a very different thing. For all these reasons, I prefer testing methods which measure your commercial’s ability to change brand preferences. Research can measure the wear-out of your advertising. For five years, the theme of Shell’s commercials was mileage, and tracking studies recorded increasingly favorable attitudes to the product. When attitudes finally stopped improving, the advertising was changed from demonstrations of mileage to consumer testimonials, and the upward trend was resumed. 17 Research can tell you how many people read your advertisements, and how many remember them.

What do grown-ups read in newspapers? The comic strips? The editorials? The weather? The stock market? The sports pages? The main news items? The columnists? Until Gallup came along, editors hadn’t the faintest idea who read what. Gallup invented a method of measuring readership. He interviewed representative samples of readers, took them through the newspaper and had them point to the things they had read. It came as a surprise to editors when he reported that more people read the comics then their editorials, and that captions under photographs were read by more people than the articles. When he repeated the same research in Britain, he got the same results. During World War II my brother Francis, then a Wing Commander in the Royal Air Force, slept in the underground bunker which was the center of the high command. He told me that when the Generals, Admirals and Air Marshals came into breakfast, they looked at the comic strips in the Daily Mirror before they read the headlines in The Times. The author and George Gallup.

When Raymond Rubicam got wind of Gallup’s research, he persuaded him to join Young & Rubicam and apply the same method to measuring the readership of advertisements. At about the same time, Daniel Starch started syndicating readership reports to agencies and advertisers, and his successors still do so. The day I spent watching a Starch interviewer at work in the field convinced me that the procedure is reasonably valid. 18 Research can settle arguments. When Lord Geddes became Chairman of British Travel, he argued that we should feature trout fishing in advertisements – until I pulled out of a chart showing that fishing interested American tourists less than all the 49 other subjects we had tested.

Outside George Gallup’s office in Princeton, long ago, the author asks a moviegoer if she would pay money to see Abe Lincoln in Illinois. She said she would, but she was kidding herself. Armed with this kind of information, it is difficult not to defeat competitors who fly blind. But there are two vital questions that research cannot answer: Which campaign will make the biggest contribution to your brand over a period of years? Here you still have to rely on judgment. What price should you charge for your product? This is one of the most important questions which confront marketers, but, as far as I know, research cannot answer it.

Given sufficient training, any intelligent person can learn to conduct surveys, but getting people to use the results requires salesmanship of a high order. When I did research for the motion picture industry, I had my reports set in type and printed. I found that the Hollywood producers were less likely to argue with printed documents than typewritten memos. Size of sample Surveys can produce reliable results with amazingly small samples. If you want to know whether the word obsolete is understood by housewives, you don’t need an answer which will be statistically reliable within two percentage points. Twenty housewives will suffice. When, however, you are looking for trends over time, you had better use larger samples to be sure that any changes are statistically significant. You must also hold the composition of your sample and the wording of your questions rigidly constant. Pitfalls of research Some interviewers find it more comfortable to answer questionnaires themselves than to accost strangers. An enterprising London pub used to cater to them by setting aside a private room where they could drink beer while filling out questionnaires. Respondents do not always tell the truth to interviewers. I used to start my questionnaires by asking, ‘Which would you rather hear on the radio tonight – Jack Benny or a Shakespeare play?’ If the respondent said Shakespeare, I knew he was a liar and broke off the interview. When Gone With the Wind was a runaway best seller, we asked a cross- section of the adult population whether they had read it. The number of yes replies was obviously inflated; people did not want to admit that they hadn’t read it. The following week we put the question differently: ‘Do you plan to read Gone With the Wind?’ It was easy for those who hadn’t read it to answer yes, they planned to read it, while those who had already read it said so. This produced a credible result. Waiting for a train in Pennsylvania station one evening, I was accosted by an interviewer and asked questions which I had written two days before. They were impossible to answer. I went back to my office and

canceled the survey. A food manufacturer had to decide whether to sell his product in cans or glass jars. He guessed that some housewives would vote for glass because they thought glass sounded more prestigious, so he gave out samples of his product in glass and other samples in cans. Two weeks later he called back and asked the housewives which samples tasted better. A large majority declared that the product in the jars tasted better than the same product in the cans. Without knowing it, they were voting for glass. In a study of the causes of inflation, the French Government cut thousands of cheeses in half and put them on sale. One half were marked 37 centimes, the other 56 centimes. The higher-priced cheese sold faster. Consumers judge the quality of a product by its price. Research among children If you think that advertising to children is satanic, skip the next two pages. If, on the other hand, you earn your living making toys or breakfast cereals, you may be interested to learn how research can make your advertising produce more sales. Children understand only the simplest questions, and cannot easily articulate their replies. They also tend to say what they think you want them to say. Here are three procedures which work reasonably well: Group dynamics. You show your commercial to a group of children and then get them to play games, like talking to a friend on a play telephone about your commercial. Or you get them to imitate the characters in the commercial. This procedure reveals misunderstandings and negative reactions. Communication discrepancy. This procedure is for somewhat older children. You show them your commercial and ask them what it told them about the product, and what they liked about it. Then you show them the product itself and ask what they like about it. By comparing what they said about the commercial and what they say about the product itself, you find out whether your commercial does your product justice. If it doesn’t, you can usually fix it. Suppose you show a doll commercial. Only 20 per cent of the

children say they like the fact that the doll can walk. But when they see the doll itself, 60 per cent say they like this. Obviously the commercial has not done justice to the doll. If, on the other hand, you find that your commercial raises hopes which are disappointed when the children see the doll, I have little doubt that, being an honest person, you will modify the commercial. Prize pad test. You give children a pad on which four toys are illustrated, including the one you are advertising, and ask them to circle the toy they would like you to give them. Then, after showing them your commercial, you say that some of the children forgot to put their names on the pad, which is probably true. You hand out new pads and again ask them to circle the toy they want. By comparing the votes, you get a measurement of your commercial’s persuasion. After doing this with several toys and several commercials, you can relate your score to the norm. Gentle reader and fellow parent, if you think it unseemly for researchers to enrol children as guinea-pigs, it will comfort you to know that they are now protected from us admen by ferocious regulations. For example, we are no longer allowed to tell children to importune their mothers to buy our products. Other regulations in force in the United States include these: ‘Appeals shall not be used which directly or by implication contend that if children have a product they are better than their peers, or lacking it, will not be accepted by their peers.’ ‘Material shall not be used which can reasonably be expected to frighten children or provoke anxiety, nor shall material be used which contains a portrayal of or appeal to violent, dangerous or otherwise anti-social behavior’ ‘Advertisements shall not include any dramatizations of any product in a realistic war atmosphere.’ ‘Advertisements shall include audio and video disclosure when items such as batteries needed to operate a product as demonstrated in the advertising are not included.’

‘When a toy is presented in the context of a play environment, the setting and situation shall be that which a child is reasonably capable of reproducing.’ ‘Advertising shall not employ costumes and props which are not available with the toy as sold, or are not reasonably accessible to the child without additional cost.’ ‘Each commercial for breakfast-type products shall include at least one audio reference to and one video depiction of the role of the product within the framework of a balanced regimen.’ Just try writing a commercial which obeys thirty-four regulations like these. Where I come out Few copywriters share my appetite for research. The late and great Bill Bernbach, among many others, thought that it inhibited creativity. My experience has been the opposite. Research has often lead me to good ideas, such as the eyepatch in the Hathaway campaign. I have seen ideas so wild that nobody in his senses would dare to use them – until research found that they worked. When I had the idea of writing headlines for French tourism in French, my partners told me I was nuts – until research revealed that French headlines were more effective than English headlines. Research has also saved me from making some horrendous mistakes. I admit that research is often misused by agencies and their clients. They have a way of using it to prove they are right. They use research as a drunkard uses a lamppost – not for illumination but for support. On the whole, however, research can be of incalculable help in producing more effective advertising.

1 6 What little I know about marketing hen they told me I had won the Parlin Award for Marketing, I W thought they were kidding. I cannot even understand what the experts write on the subject. Stuff like this from Professor Paul Warshaw of McGill: Though use of sample cross-validated correlations is acceptable, the infrequently used squared population cross-validated correlation 2 coefficient ( ) is a more precise (although slightly biased) measure (Cattin 1978a, b; Schmitt, Coyle, and Rauschenberger 1977). It utilizes all available data simultaneously rather than bisecting the sample into arbitrary estimation and holdout components. Because 2 of these comparative advantages, is used in the present analysis. Though several versions are available, Srinivasan’s (1977) 2 formulation is acceptable for models containing fixed predictor 1 variables. If you can understand this kind of thing, you may find it useful to look up other models of consumer behavior, such as Lavidge and Steiner, Andreason, Nicosia, Engel-Kollat-Blackwell, Howard and Sheth, and Vaughan. All double Dutch to me. However, thirty odd years of rubbing shoulders with marketing practitioners has taught me some things which have helped in my work. New products About 35 per cent of supermarket sales come from products which did not exist ten years ago. You can judge the vitality of a company by the number of new products it brings to market. I have known Chief Executive Officers who made enough profit from the products they inherited from their

predecessors to obscure their failure to introduce new ones of their own. It is not uncommon for such men to grudge a measly million dollars for developing a new product, but to shell out $100,000,000 to acquire somebody else’s product, without turning a hair. Their borrowing-power is greater than their brain-power. The opposite is seen in the pharmaceutical industry. Merck, for example, spends $200,000,000 a year on new-product research. Years may go by without their discovering anything, then bingo…up comes a miracle drug. The effect on the share price is lovely to behold. Why do eight out of ten new consumer products fail? Sometimes because they are too new. The first cold cereals were rejected by consumers. More often new products fail because they are not new enough. They do not offer any perceptible point of difference – like better quality, better flavor, better value, more convenience or better solutions to problems. It helps if the point of difference goes hand-in-hand with a chord of familiarity that links the new product to the consumer’s past experience – a disposable diaper, a light beer, a diet cola, a paper towel. Naming your product Finding any name which has not already been registered by another company is infernally difficult. There are three kinds of names: Names of men and women – like FORD, CAMPBELL and VEUVE CLICQUOT. They are memorable, they are difficult to copy and they suggest that your product is the invention of a human being. Meaningless names like KODAK, KOTEX, and CAMEL. It takes many years and millions of dollars to endow them with any sales appeal. Descriptive names like 3-IN-ONE OIL, BAND-AID and JANITOR IN A DRUM. Such names start with sales appeal. But they are too specific to be used for subsequent line-extensions. You can use consumer research to find out whether a name says what you think it says, whether it is easily pronounceable, whether it is confused with existing names, and whether it is memorable.

Once I told a computer that I wanted a name for a new brand of coffee, specifying that it had to begin with the letter M and contain no more than seven characters. The computer spewed out hundreds of permutations, and I was back where I started. If it is important that the name appear as big as possible on a package, choose a short one like TIDE, and not a long one like SCREAMING YELLOW ZONKERS. If you want to use the same name in foreign markets, make sure that it does not have an obscene meaning in Turkish or any other language. There have been some nasty accidents. I have suggested names for dozens of new products, but have not yet had one accepted. Good luck to you. Sleeping beauties Some products which sell well without being advertised may sell better, and make more profit, with advertising. For 40 years the Lambert Pharmaceutical Company sold modest quantities of a mouthwash called Listerine, without advertising it. When young Jerry Lambert started advertising it – as a remedy for halitosis – sales went through the roof. Milton S. Hershey built the biggest confectionery business in the world without advertising. Some years after his death, his successors asked my partner Bill Weed to find out whether advertising could increase their profits, most of which went to the Hershey orphanage. Bill had commercials made for three of their products and tested them in local markets. One of the products did not respond to advertising, but sales of Hershey Bars went up, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups went up 66 per cent. By 1980, Hershey was spending $42,000,000 on advertising. The end of the block-buster brand It has become prohibitively expensive to launch brands aimed at a dominant share-of-market. Even the manufacturers with the biggest war- chests are finding it more profitable to aim their new brands at narrowly defined segments of the market. The recent launch of a new cigarette cost $100,000,000. The advent of cable television, with 50 or more channels, will make it easier to aim your advertising at special groups of consumers. There may never be another universal giant like Tide or

Maxwell House. Don’t waste time on problem babies Most marketers spend too much time worrying about how to revive products which are in trouble, and too little time worrying about how to make successful products even more successful. It is the mark of a brave man to admit defeat, cut his loss, and move on. Concentrate your time, your brains, and your advertising money on your successes. Back your winners, and abandon your losers. Don’t dawdle Most young men in big corporations behave as if profit were not a function of time. When Jerry Lambert scored his breakthrough with Listerine, he speeded up the whole process of marketing by dividing time into months. He reviewed progress every 30 days, with the result that he made a fortune in record time. Promotions In 1981, US manufacturers spent 60 per cent more on promotions than on advertising, and distributed 1,024,000,000,000 coupons. Bloody fools. In the long run, the manufacturer who dedicates his advertising to building the most sharply defined image for his product gets the largest share of the market. The manufacturer who finds himself up the creek is the short-sighted opportunist who siphons off his advertising dollars for short-term promotions. Year after year I find myself warning clients about what will happen to their brands if they spend so much on promotion that there is no money left for advertising. Price-off deals and other such hypodermics find favor with sales managers, but their effect is ephemeral, and they can be habit-forming. Said Bev Murphy, who invented Nielsen’s technique for measuring consumer purchases and later became President of Campbell Soup Company: ‘Sales are a function of product-value and advertising. Promotions cannot produce more than a temporary kink in the sales curve.’ Says Dr. Ehrenberg: ‘A cut-price offer can induce people to try a brand, but they return to their habitual brands as if nothing had

happened.’ Don’t get me wrong. I am not opposed to all promotions. I would not, for example, think of launching a detergent without sampling to consumers. Pricing is guesswork It is usually assumed that marketers use scientific methods to determine the price of their products. Nothing could be further from the truth. In almost every case, the process of decision is one of guesswork. The higher you price your product, the more desirable it becomes in the eyes of the consumer. Yet when Professor Reisz of the University of Iowa tried to relate the prices of 679 brands of food products to their quality, he found that the correlation between quality and price was almost zero. Most of the marketers I know are afraid of pricing their products above competiton. At a dinner in Europe three years ago, the head of Research and Development in a famous company told me, ‘I have never seen my company go to market with the best product I could make. Time after time our marketers force me to give them an inferior product at a lower price.’ I was able to tell him that there are now unmistakable signs of a trend in favor of superior products at premium prices. The consumer is not a moron, she is your wife. Marketing in recession What should you do in times of recession, when you need every penny to sustain your earnings? Stop advertising? If you stop advertising a brand which is still in its introductory phase, you will probably kill it – for ever. Studies of the last six recessions have demonstrated that companies which do not cut back their advertising budgets achieve greater increases in profit than companies which do cut back. In a Morril survey of 40,000 men and women involved in the purchase of 23 industrial products over five years, it was found that share-of- market went up in bad times – when advertising was continued. I have come to regard advertising as part of the product, to be treated as a production cost, not a selling cost. It follows that it should not be cut back when times are hard, any more than you would stint any other

essential ingredient in your product. During World War II, the British Government prohibited the marketing of margarine under brand names, but Unilever continued to advertise one of their brands during all the years it was not on the retailers’ shelves. When the war ended and brands returned, the Unilever brand emerged at the top of the heap. Keynes might have advised manufacturers not to advertise during boom times, but instead to set aside the money in a reserve for advertising during recessions. Heavy users Thirty-two per cent of beer-drinkers drink 80 per cent of all beer. Twenty-three per cent of laxative users consume 80 per cent of all laxatives. Fourteen per cent of the people who drink gin consume 80 per cent of all the gin. In everything you do, keep your eye glued to the heavy users. They are unlike occasional users in their motivations.

This chart compares sales for companies which cut back their advertising expenditure during the 1974-75 recession with sales for companies that did not cut back. The companies that did not cut their advertising budgets did better in every year. By 1977 their sales had more than doubled, while sales had barely gone up 50 per cent fo companies that cut their advertising. 1975 sales were down for the companies that cut their advertising, but up for those that didn’t. By 1977 the net income of companies that did not cut advertising had more than trebled, while for companies that did cut back during the recession, it had barely doubled. Why advertise at all? Many manufacturers secretly question whether advertising really sells their product, but are vaguely afraid that their competitors might steal a march on them if they stopped. Others – particularly in Great Britain – advertise ‘to keep their name before the public’. Others because it helps them to get distribution. Only a minority of marketers advertise because

they have found that it increases their profits. On a train journey to California, a friend asked Mr. Wrigley why, with the lion’s share of the market, he continued to advertise his chewing gum. ‘How fast do you think this train is going?’ asked Wrigley. ‘I would say about ninety miles an hour’ ‘Well,’ said Wrigley, ‘do you suggest we unhitch the engine?’ Advertising is still the cheapest form of selling. It would cost you $25,000 to have salesmen call on a thousand homes. A television commercial can do it for $4.69. If you spend $10,000,000 a year on advertising, you can now (1983) reach 66 per cent of the population twice a month. Repertory of brands A.S.C. Ehrenberg of the London Business School has established that consumers do not buy one brand of soap, or coffee, or detergent. They have a repertory of four or five brands, and move from one to another. They almost never buy a brand which has not been admitted to their repertory during its first year on the market. Dr. Ehrenberg goes on to argue that the only thing you can expect from post-launch advertising is that it will persuade present users to buy your brand more often than the others in their repertory. If this is true, your launch advertising is a matter of life and death. Spend every penny you can lay your hands on. Now or never. Dr. Ehrenberg writes: ’People have a repertory of brands, each of which they buy fairly regularly … buying behavior remains broadly characterized as being steady and habitual rather than dynamic. ’Real conversion from virgin ignorance to full-blooded, long-term commitment does not happen often … sales levels of most brands tend to be fairly steady. ‘Consumers mostly ignore advertising for brands they are not already using.’ Dr. John Treasure agrees: ‘The task of advertising is not primarily one of conversion but rather of reinforcement and assurance…sales of a given brand may be increased without converting to the brand any new

consumers, but merely by inducing its existing users, those who already use it at least occasionally, to use it more frequently.’ Sales meetings in the WC Always hold your sales meetings in rooms too small for the audience, even if it means holding them in the WC. ‘Standing room only’ creates an atmosphere of success, as in theatres and restaurants, while a half- empty auditorium smells of failure. Use the absolute minimum of electrical equipment. I have seen the sound systems fail in some of the most elaborately equipped convention centers in the world, including Berlin, where they have 24 operators. What is marketing? I once heard Marvin Bower define marketing as objectivity. I cannot beat that. 1 Journal of Marketing Research, May 1980, this page.

1 7 Is America still top nation? The hare and the tortoises oughly half of all the advertising in the world is in the United R States, and American agencies are paramount in the rest of the world. In West Germany, nine of the top agencies are American. In the United Kingdom and Holland, seven of the top ten. In Canada and Italy, six of the top ten. In 1977 Philip Kleinman, a British observer of the advertising scene, wrote that ‘all over the world, admen look to Madison 1 Avenue as Moslems look to Mecca.’ But things are changing. Alexander Kroll, the president of Young & Rubicam, recently said that ‘the best of foreign advertising seems brasher, fresher and more outrageous than ours’. Remember Aesop’s fable of the Hare and the Tortoise? Britain The differences between British and American advertising reflect differences in national characteristics. If you question whether those differences are big enough to signify, consider the fact that, on an average Sunday, 42 per cent of Americans go to church, while only 3 per cent go in England. British commercials tend to be less direct, less competitive, more subtle, more nostalgic, funnier and more entertaining. Techniques which work well in the United States – like talking heads and slice-of-life are seldom used in Britain. The London agencies produce relatively far-out, trendy commercials. After spending four years in London, my partner Bill Taylor wrote, ‘There seems to be a realization in England that maybe, just maybe, the product being sold is not the most important thing in the consumer’s mind. The decision as to which dishwashing

liquid to buy, which beer to drink or which toaster to purchase, is not a life-and-death decision. Realizing this, the British are able to present their product to the consumer in perspective. They joke about it, sing about it, and often underplay it. In short, they have a sense of proportion.’ He concludes that, in general, British advertising is the best in the world. This British ad for Shell is perhaps the most disarming corporate advertisement ever created. Click here for hi-res image and text.

A superb use of emotion (nostalgia) in an English commercial for Hovis bread. No wonder British copywriters are now in such demand in the United States. The procession which started with Leslie Pearl, Clifford Field and the author is gathering steam. Barry Day, the Creative Head at McCann- Erickson’s headquarters in New York is an Englishman, as is Norman Berry, the Creative Head of Ogilvy & Mather in New York.

British newspaper advertising at its best...

...Straightforward, direct, never pompous, always interesting. Collett Dickenson Pearce. Europe French advertising is distinguished for its wit, charm and beautiful art direction, qualities which are seen to best advantage in magazine ads and posters. Many French television commercials are equally enchanting, although I often wonder if they appeal to Claudette, my cook. French copywriters and art directors are not subjected to the kind of research which restrains their American and British colleagues from shooting above the heads of the mass audience. They are free to entertain the upper crust. I find the atmosphere in the better German agencies very like New

York, but dare I confess that I find some of their advertising rather ugly? German advertisers are bedevilled by an acute shortage of professional staff, and an even more acute shortage of time on television. This obliges them to use magazines more than they would wish. In Belgium and Sweden, advertising is not allowed on television. You might suppose that this would result in exceptionally high standards of advertising in magazines and newspapers, but it doesn’t. In the smaller European countries, advertisers cannot afford the kind of research that guides the creative output in North America and the United Kingdom, so they are forced to rely on guesswork, which isn’t always accurate. The multinational advertisers have the advantage that they can extrapolate from the results of their research in bigger markets. The N.I.H. Syndrome Multinational corporations often wish to use the same advertising campaigns throughout the world, but the managers of their local subsidiaries press their prerogative to commission their own campaigns. The local agencies, even when they belong to the multinational agency which has the parent account, are equally resistant to dictation; they argue that their market is different, and point to the danger of being perceived by the local client as the tool of his multinational headquarters.

One in a superb series of British advertisements for CIGA Hotels. The agency is TBWA. Click here for hi-res image. There is often some weight in these arguments, but the underlying factor is almost always what Professor Levitt of Harvard calls the N.I.H. Syndrome – Not Invented Here. Any campaign not invented in your country is a threat to your self-respect. The best way to settle these arguments is to test the international campaign in each country. Only when the results are positive should it be used locally, and even then it should be modified to fit the local culture. More often than not, campaigns which perform well in the United States perform equally well in other countries. The Esso tiger was a success in 34 countries.

A beautiful advertisement from the Frankfurt office of TBWA. Many Germans believed that Club Med resorts were snobbish, that they were for summer only, and that only French was spoken. Ads like this proclaimed otherwise.

An advertisement by the Frankfurt office of Ogilvy & Mather. Simple and straightforward. Reader’s Digest has found that the articles which most interest Americans are the same articles which most interest Frenchmen, Germans, Italians, Dutchmen and Ruritanians. Television commercials which demonstrated the good mileage you get with Shell were equally successful in the United States, Canada, Britain, Germany and Austria. Advertising in Latin America has made big strides in recent years – particularly in Brazil, where José Fontoura is producing some outstanding campaigns. But the most dramatic improvement of all has been in South East Asia. Three years ago, I offered a prize of $10,000 to the Ogilvy & Mather

office which created the most brilliant advertising in our world-wide network. Which office won the prize, do you suppose? New York? Chicago? London? Paris? The prize went to Bangkok. Barry Owen, the young Australian Creative Director, was the first to use Thai cultural symbols in Thai advertising, thereby giving the lie to the old charge that multinational agencies impose an alien culture wherever they go. Says Barry, ‘What is the significance of a Western jingle to a person who dances beautifully to the sound of a bamboo flute?’ Shell offers motorists helpful information in booklets about emergency repairs, fire safety and so on. This campaign has worked well in the United States, Sweden, Holland, Germany, France, Canada, Brazil, Australia, Austria and South Africa. Australian advertising has also improved since I was there four years ago; some of it is now very good indeed. Australian advertising people are the most eclectic in the world, the dominant influence being American rather than British. The most spectacular campaigns are being produced by a new agency called Mojo, with Campaign Palace not far behind. But the fastest growing agency is none other than Ogilvy & Mather, which has a broader range.

New Zealand. Considering that the population is only three million, it is remarkable that New Zealand plays the best Rugby football in the world, produces the best sheep, and one of the two greatest sopranos. The advertising would be better if the best creative people did not, like the Scottish, emigrate to richer pastures. Some brilliant advertising is now being created in Brazil. The headline on this one says, ‘Long before school starts, Mercedes-Benz is already repeating its daily lesson.’ There is very little advertising in India – 37 cents per head per annum, compared with $224 in the United States and $77 in Japan. Indian agency people have an impressive theoretical knowledge of advertising, but it seldom shows in their output. The 19-year-old daughter of my Indian partner Mani Ayer calles it ‘organized graffiti’. Nevertheless, I have seen a few Indian campaigns, such as that for the Indian Cancer Society, which compare favorably with anything in the West. Indian advertisers have problems unknown in the West. Their campaigns have to be translated into 12 languages, and the majority of the population cannot read any language. The average Indian has an income of $5 a week. Is it fair, do you think, to advertise products which the majority of people will never be able to buy? The population of India has doubled since Independence in 1947. If it doubles again in the next 25 years – to 1,400,000,000 – the consequence

will be massive starvation. I came away from India recently with an unshakeable resolve to find out if the skills I have spent my life acquiring can help to solve the problem of the birthrate. Says Mani Ayer, ‘The elimination of human suffering is too serious to leave to government alone.’ The Government of India has been spending less than 10 cents per child-bearing couple per year on family planning. A straight-from-the-shoulder benefit is promised in this African poster.

In this advertisement, Australian creative director Barry Owen asks, ‘What is the significance of a Western jingle to a person who dances beautifully to the sound of a bamboo flute?’ Click here for hi-res image. In Kenya, people are lucky to earn $10 a week, and about 70 per cent are illiterate. The principal medium of advertising is radio, and the commercials have to be written in nine languages. When you advertise cooking fat, you have to make your recipes fit tribal eating habits; don’t give the Kikuyu recipes for fried fish – they regard fish as snakes. There are only 30,000 television sets in a population of fourteen million, but mobile cinemas take entertainment to the rural population. In this environment, contests work well. Unilever offers scholarships as

prizes. When asked to increase the sales of Vaseline, the Nairobi office of Ogilvy & Mather mounted a contest with a cow as first prize. In 1978 the Indian Cancer Society used advertising to persuade people to have regular check-ups at its free clinics. The advertisements, by the Bombay office of Ogilvy & Mather, showed real people who had been cured. Within two months the number of check-ups tripled. Communist advertising – primitive but not forbidden Considering the venom with which left-wingers in capitalist countries denounce advertising, you might suppose that Communist countries would eschew this capitalist tool. Not so. The Soviet party line was laid down long ago by Anastas Mikoyan, the old Bolshevik who was in charge of foreign and domestic trade under Stalin and Krushchev: ‘The task of our Soviet advertising is to give people exact information about the goods that are on sale, to help to create new demands, to cultivate new tastes and requirements, to promote the sales of new kinds of goods and to explain their uses to the consumer.’ I could not have said it better myself However, apart from campaigns for

good causes like reducing alcoholism, there is little or no advertising in the USSR, although foreign companies are allowed to advertise their industrial products, and there is a state-owned agency, whose officials are courteous, helpful and efficient. Hungary produces the best advertising in the communist world. There are several agencies and they use not only newspapers and magazines, but also television.

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Why does the majority of Communist advertising have to be so amateurish? In Hungary, the advertising scene is little different from that in Western Europe. There are several agencies and they advertise in newspapers, magazines and television. There is even a magazine about advertising.

A confident re-working of the Johnny Walker theme from Hungary. In Czechoslovakia there are two agencies, and they advertise in newspapers and magazines as well as on television and radio. There is also an agency in Poland, but it has filtered out its creative talent, replacing them with bureaucrats. There is one agency in Romania, and considerable advertising for consumer products. I know nothing about advertising in East Germany or Bulgaria. China Until 1977 advertising in China was considered evil, so there wasn’t any. But in 1978 the government endorsed its use. The advertisements look like specification sheets. There are commercials on Chinese television, most of them for industrial products like electric motors; the waste circulation must be astronomic. There is no need to advertise consumer

products, because most of them are in short supply. In Communist China, advertising has been permitted since 1978. The most important advertising medium in China is radio, the communal speaker system reaching 75 per cent of the population. The commercials are broadcast twice a day, one after another. There are 40 local newspapers, but they consist of only two sheets and their advertising content is less than 25 per cent. There are 160 magazines, mostly devoted to trade and technical subjects, and there are billboards in the big cities. There are no less than 67 advertising agencies, of which 17 are responsible for advertising Chinese products in foreign countries, and foreign products in China. Dentsu, the Japanese agency, has small offices in Peking and Shanghai, and McCann-Erickson has an office in Peking.

Young & Rubicam fly their flag on this giant billboard in Shanghai. If I knew anything about advertising in Japan, I would tell you. But I don’t – yet. In short, while the volume of advertising is still growing in the United States, it is growing faster in the rest of the world, and America is no longer top nation professionally. The tortoises are overtaking the hare. 1 In Advertising Inside Out, W.H. Allen, London 1977

1 8 Lasker, Resor, Rubicam, Burnett, Hopkins and Bernbach Six giants who invented modern advertising y confining my selection of giants to those who are dead, I avoid the B embarrassment of choosing among my partners – and my contemporaries in other agencies. What, if anything, did these six giants have in common? All six of them were American. All six had other jobs before they went into advertising. At least five were gluttons for work, and uncompromising perfectionists. Four made their reputations as copywriters. Only three had university degrees. ALBERT LASKER 1880-1952 Albert Lasker made more money than anyone in the history of the advertising business. And spent more. And got his money’s worth. The son of a prosperous German immigrant, he started his career as a reporter on the Galveston Morning News, covering sports, crime, religious services, theater, business and politics. When he was 18 his father got him a job at the Lord & Thomas agency in Chicago. At first he had to clean out the spittoons, but quickly became a champion canvasser for new business, criss-crossing the Midwest by train, buggy and sleigh. When he was 20 he bought Lord & Thomas, and remained its head until he retired 44 years later. Lasker was more than an advertising man. In 1918 he came under the influence of Theodore Roosevelt, and this led to his taking four years off as the head of propaganda for the Republican Party and later the chairman of the Shipping Board. In those days he was a militant isolationist, but he lived to become one of Wendell Wilkie’s strongest supporters in the One World movement, and did everything he could to

advance the foreign policy of Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman. Albert Lasker made more money, spent more and gave more away than anybody in the history of advertising. And he got his money’s worth. At the age of 65 he started collecting pictures, and died owning nine Matisses, seventeen Picassos and a hundred other pictures of the first rank. He once bought half a dozen Marie Laurencins to give away as Christmas presents. He was a brilliant philanthropist, and gave a large part of his fortune to medical research. But it was as an advertising man that Lasker excelled. When he first joined Lord & Thomas, then the third biggest agency in the country, they employed only one half-time copywriter and paid him $15 a week. Then John E. Kennedy, a Canadian policeman turned copywriter, came into his life and persuaded him that advertising was ‘salesmanship in print’, a definition that has never been improved. Lasker said later, ‘The history of advertising could never be written without first place being given to John E. Kennedy, for every copywriter throughout the length and breadth of this land is today being guided by the principles he laid down.’

Lasker held that if an agency could write copy which sold the product, nothing else was needed. For years he refused to employ an art director, and when he finally gave in it was only because he had observed that illustrated advertisements were easier to sell to clients. His attitude to research was equally contemptuous. He used to say that he was perfectly able to give his clients advice ‘without having to lose six months going out to do research, only to come back and tell us that a jackass has two ears’. He never had what is called today a ‘marketing’ department. His intuitive genius for marketing can be illustrated in a story he told about the early days of women’s sanitary napkins. ‘When the Kotex people came to us, the business wasn’t growing as fast as they thought it should. We didn’t have to make investigations among millions of women. Just a few of us talked to our wives and asked them if they used Kotex, and we found they didn’t, and in almost every case it was because they didn’t like to ask the druggist for it. So we developed the simple idea of putting plain wrapped packages on the dealer’s counter so that you could walk into your dealer and walk away with a wrapped package without embarrassment. The business boomed by leaps and bounds.’ By dispensing with marketers, art directors and researchers, Lasker saved so much money that he was able to make a profit of 7 per cent – probably the world’s record. If an agency makes more than 1 per cent today, it is exceptional. He ran Lord & Thomas as a dictatorship. ‘As you all know,’ he told his staff, ‘I am the owner of this business and therefore I decide the policies. Lord & Thomas is the trade name for Albert D. Lasker practicing advertising.’ He owned 95 per cent of the shares. After he retired he said that he had never attended a directors’ meeting and did not think that one had ever been held. He hired able men, paid them well and trained them well. He used to say, ‘I can get more out of people than they have in them.’ But the turnover was ferocious. At one point the heads of nine major agencies were Lasker alumni. He used to say, ’I make my men so good that I can’t 1 keep ‘em.’ Before writing his biography of Lasker, John Gunther asked some of his people what they thought had been his greatest qualities.

The consensus was that he combined a sense of detail with a gift for grasping the big picture, and that he had a genius for predicting the reactions of consumers. In addition, his vitality and magnetism were irresistible, and he worked fifteen hours a day. No wonder he made Lord & Thomas the biggest agency in the world – for a time. He loathed talking on the telephone, and abominated committees. He never belonged to an advertising club, and avoided his competitors. He resigned several huge accounts out of pique, including General Electric, Quaker Oats and RCA, and after his retirement encouraged his successors to resign Lucky Strike. He had himself driven about in a yellow Rolls-Royce. And, like me, he hated reverse type – ‘if it was natural to read that way, the New York Times would be printed that way.’ He was not shy about conspicuous consumption. His weekend estate outside Chicago had a staff of fifty. The gardens covered 97 acres, with six miles of clipped hedges – compared with only one mile in my garden today. And there was an 18-hole golf course. He once defined an administrator as ‘somebody without brains’, but as an administrator himself, he could be ruthless. In the Depression he cut all salaries by 25 per cent when he was taking $3,000,000 a year for himself, and then, at one fell swoop, fired 50 men and women many of whom had been with him for years. For all his financial acumen, he made at least one major blunder. When his father died, Lasker inherited a lot of Texas real estate. He promptly sold what was to become some of the richest oil land in the world, and a quarter of downtown Houston. That, plus his philanthropies and his extravagance, is why he left only $11,500,000 instead of a billion. He once said, ‘I didn’t want to make a great fortune. I wanted to show what I could do with my brains.’ His emotional make-up was uncomfortable. Gunther, who knew him well, says that he was sensitive and perceptive, and that he had a bubbling sense of humor. But he could be overbearing, intolerant and arrogant, once being heard to say, ‘There is no advertising man in the world but me.’ I don’t think he was joking. His first wife said that he gave her everything except himself He could be bad-tempered, demanding and inconsiderate. And he had three prolonged nervous breakdowns.

The best advertisement for Albert Lasker is his widow Mary. She has administered his medical foundation with superb ability, and is one of New York’s most constructive citizens. On the one occasion I met her, she told me the story of her husband’s abdication. One afternoon, late in 1942, he suddenly said to her, ‘Mary, I have decided to get out of the advertising business.’ Two days later he gave Lord & Thomas to three of his bright young men (Foote, Cone and Belding), for a token payment of $100,000 – on condition that the name Lord & Thomas should be taken off the masthead. He lived another ten years. STANLEY RESOR 1879-1962 Stanley Resor was the Brahmin of the advertising business. Austere, dignified, cultured, beautifully mannered and rather donnish. When he became head of J. Walter Thompson, the agency was billing $3,000,000 a year. When he retired 45 years later, it was the biggest in the world, with billings of $500,000,000. The secret of his success was his ability to attract exceptionally able men, and to treat them with so much respect that they never left. They included Sam Meek, James Webb Young, Henry Stanton, Ken Hinks and Gilbert Kinney. No other agency has ever had a team of such caliber, or kept it together so long. Resor was never overbearing like Lasker. He managed by consensus, distrusting what he called Individual Opinion, and thought that brilliance was dangerous. His agency was structured in the loosest possible way. He detested hierarchies. There were no department heads, and no job descriptions. The agency operated as a partnership, like a big law firm. When he offered me a job, he gave me no inkling what work he had in mind for me. Office boy? Copywriter? His successor? He did not say, and I did not ask him. Resor worked his way through Yale tutoring other students and selling books, but he also had time to win the James Gordon Bennett prize for economics. He retained a life-long admiration for professors and hired at least three to work at J. Walter Thompson – a psychologist, an economist and a historian. He used to say that his agency was the ‘university’ of advertising.

Unlike Lasker, he was a fervent believer in research. The economist Arno Johnson was one of his researchers, and another was Virgil Reed, a former Director of the Census. He set up a panel of 5,000 consumers and had them report once a month on everything they purchased. He had a test kitchen in the agency, to invent new recipes for his clients, and he started experiments on television long before it was available for advertising. He also shared my interest in factor-analysis and had a team studying techniques which work and techniques which don’t work. A man of rigid principles, he threw away an opportunity to get the huge Camel account because he would not show speculative advertisements. He never took liquor accounts or patent medicines. Perhaps his most valuable innovation was to be the first to employ women as copywriters, starting with his wife. They were housed in a separate department and had to wear hats in the office. Like all the giants, Resor worked long hours. I used to see him on the train that left Grand Central Station shortly before midnight. He was usually reading the Wall Street prices in the evening paper, 20 years before I had any reason to do so. A few years after I hung out my shingle, I lost my biggest account to J. Walter Thompson, and telephoned Resor to congratulate him. ‘David’, he said, ‘you are a gentleman and a scholar but you are trying to break into the ranks of the big agencies, and that is no longer possible. The investment is too big. I suggest you give up and join J. Walter Thompson.’ I replied, ‘Mr. Resor, I would love to join you, but I couldn’t fire a hundred men and women.’ ‘Oh,’ he said, ‘times are good. They wouldn’t have any difficulty finding other jobs.’ Two years later he repeated the invitation, this time offering to buy my whole agency, like buying a library to get one book. That was the day I met his wife. He had hired her to write copy on the Cincinnati agency where he worked before joining Thompson, and she had become one of the best copywriters in the country. Their partnership, both in business and as a couple, was formidable. It was Helen Resor who insisted that the agency’s offices should be decorated with antique furniture, each executive being allowed to choose the period he liked the best. She was said to believe that if their

offices were more attractive than their homes, they would work longer 2 hours. In some ways, Helen Resor was more than Stanley. She was one of the founders of the planned parenthood movement, and she made use of her experience as a Trustee of the Museum of Modern Art to form an admirable collection of pictures. Stanley Resor, the Brahmin of the advertising business. He and his copywriter wife made J. Walter Thompson the biggest agency in the world. Despite the fact that he was married to a copywriter, Resor had a tendency to regard copywriters as idiots. His agency was dominated by its account executives, or ‘representatives’ as he called them. Unlike the author, he believed strongly in the selling power of celebrity testimonials. For Lux Toilet Soap he used Hollywood movie stars, and for Ponds he used titled English women; my friend Erskine Childers, who was later to become President of Ireland, had the job of signing them up. Resor was the first agency chief to start a network of offices outside the United States. This he did in the twenties, at the behest of General Motors.

He looked like Woodrow Wilson, but he was a Republican. He lived in an unostentatious house in Connecticut, where he worked in the garden, and had a ranch in Wyoming. None of Lasker’s extravagance. But Resor made one mistake. He stayed too long. By the time he was 80, his ideas for advertising campaigns had become anachronistic. And partners who would have made good successors retired before he did. RAYMOND RUBICAM 1892-1978 The day after I arrived in the United States, I called Raymond Rubicam for an appointment, armed with an introduction from Caroline Ruutz- Rees, the famous headmistress of Rosemary Hall. ‘State your business,’ he barked. ‘I want to pick your brains,’ I replied. The two best agencies in the world are the lengthened shadows of Raymond Rubicam. He was my conscience for 40 years, teaching me that advertising has a responsibility to behave. The following year, he and George Gallup, who was then his Research Director, hired me to run the Audience Research Institute at Princeton. Rubicam took great interest in our work and treated me with uncommon kindness. After the war I decided to try my luck in advertising, but I stood in such awe of Young & Rubicam that I did not dare apply to them for a job. As I thought they were the only agency where I would like to work,

I had no choice but to start my own. In one of his last letters before he died, Rubicam wrote, ‘We knew you before you started your agency. How come we missed you?’ By that time we had become great friends. ‘Friends’ is not the right word. He was my patron, inspiration, counselor, critic and conscience. I was his hero-worshipping disciple. At one stage, long after he retired from Young & Rubicam, he offered to become chairman of Ogilvy & Mather. If all institutions are ‘the lengthened shadow of one man’, it can be said that the two best agencies in the world today are the lengthened shadows of Raymond Rubicam. Next to my grandfather, whom he resembled physically and in many other ways, Rubicam was the most outspoken man I have ever known. He blurted out whatever was on his mind, without considering what effect it might have. One day he would praise one of my campaigns in language which made me blush, and a few weeks later criticize another campaign with a candor which made me wince. The youngest of eight children in a poor family, he left school when he was 15 and spent the next nine years bumming around the country as a shipping clerk, bellhop, chaperone of cattle, movie projectionist, door- to-door salesman, automobile salesman, and newspaper reporter (at $12 a week). When he was 24 he applied for a job as a copywriter at the now defunct F. Wallis Armstrong agency in Philadelphia. ‘I sat in that lobby – on a bench so hard that I can still feel it,’ he later recalled. ‘At the end of the ninth day, I exploded … I wrote the boss a letter calculated to produce an immediate interview or a couple of black eyes.’ The boss stormed into the lobby, waving the letter, and said, ‘Those ads you wrote didn’t amount to much, but this letter has some stuff in it.’ He stayed with Armstrong for three years, but did not enjoy it. ‘Armstrong said that a copywriter was a necessary evil, but an art director was just a goddamned luxury. He lived to outfox everybody.’ In 1919 Rubicam moved to N.W. Ayer, then the largest agency in the country. There he wrote campaigns which have been included in every anthology of great advertisements, including ‘The Instrument of the Immortals’ for Steinway and ‘The Priceless Ingredient’ for Squibb. Then, after four years with Ayer, he teamed up with an account executive called John Orr Young to start Young & Rubicam, on a shoe-string. Their

capital was $5,000 and their first account was a shoe-string. Today their agency is either the biggest or second biggest in the world, with billings 3 of about three billion dollars a year. Raymond Rubicam assembled the best team of copywriters and art directors in the history of advertising – like Jack Rosebrook, Roy Whittier, Vaughn Flannery, Henry Lent, George Gribbin, Sid Ward and Norman Robbins. Under Rubicam’s inspiration they created advertisements which were read by more people than any other agency’s – including this ad for Life Savers. He was the first to make research part of the creative process, by bringing in Dr. Gallup from Northwestern University and paying him to measure the readership of advertisements. From this research emerged guidelines which enabled Young & Rubicam to produce advertisements which were read by more people than any other agency’s. Rubicam used

to say, ‘The way we sell is to get read first.’ Observing that the effect of his campaigns was often negated by the marketing incompetence of his clients, he hired first-class sales managers to teach them their business. During the first year of Young & Rubicam, their advertisements were notable for the excellence of their copy, but their graphics – illustrations, layouts and typography – were as hideous as any other agency’s. When this dawned on Rubicam, he hired Vaughn Flannery, the best art director in America. From that day forward, Young & Rubicam’s advertisements set a standard of taste which was new in American advertising. But the achievement of which Rubicam was most proud was a larger one. In old age he told me, ‘Advertising has a responsibility to behave properly. I proved that you can sell products without bamboozling the American public.’ While he had no monopoly on this virtue, he had more right than anyone to boast about it. His definition of a good advertisement was that ‘its public is not only strongly sold by it, but both the public and the advertiser remember it for a long time as an admirable piece of work.’ In the eternal battle for power which goes on in agencies between the creative people and the account executives, Rubicam – himself a copywriter – came down heavily on the side of the creative people. He called account executives by the old-fashioned and now pejorative word ‘contact men’ and insisted that their only function was to get clients to approve the ads. He taught me to resign accounts when they were spoiling the morale of my staff He resigned the huge American Tobacco account because he disliked being bullied by the notorious George Washington Hill. His letter is before me: ‘Young & Rubicam and American Tobacco were both successful companies for some time before our association began. I trust both will continue to be successful companies after our association ceases, which it is doing as of now.’ The early success of Young & Rubicam was due more than anything else to the fact that General Foods was their biggest client. One day Rubicam told the head of General Foods that his account had grown too big for

any one agency; he should hire a second and later a third. This is how Benton & Bowles got their first major account, and it is why General Foods came to trust every recommendation Rubicam made to them. At the end of World War II, when I was a Second Secretary at the British Embassy in Washington, I suggested to the Foreign Office in London that they nominate Rubicam to head the public relations function at the fledgling United Nations, only to be told that he should fill out an application form! This modest ad announced the opening of Young & Rubicam in 1923. Off duty, he was less conservative then Stanley Resor. In 1946 he contributed an article to McCall’s deploring the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan. He believed that a demonstration of the bomb would have convinced the Japanese to surrender, and made the United States the moral leader of the world.

In the early days of radio he proposed that the programs should be paid for by the government and carry no advertising. When he was made a member of the Advertising Hall of Fame in 1974, he said in his acceptance speech, ‘The national obsession with television is decreasing the literacy of the nation’s children and making the job of the schools much tougher. It is also obsessing the country with crime. Industry and advertising could perform a huge public service if they could induce the television networks to cut down the advertising and cut down the crime.’ The ad on the left, written by Raymond Rubicam in 1919, now looks old-fashioned. The ad on the right, written in 1982, has a contemporary look. But which ad is more memorable? Click here for hi-res image and text. During World War II he was a special assistant to the chairman of the War Manpower Commission in Washington, but the environment