Promote Yourself and Your Company
David Ogilvy: the grand master of getting noticedMarch 12, 2013 By Denny Hatch
When I was running the WHO'S MAILING WHAT! newsletter, I bumped into a subscriber at a conference. In our exchange of pleasantries, she made an amusing observation about the list business, and in the next issue I passed it on to my readers.
She called me crying, saying she was about to get fired for talking to me. I reminded her that she never told me our conversation was "off the record" or on "background" and she revealed nothing that could be remotely considered proprietary or confidential.
In thinking it over, I realized she and the other folks in her organization were among the industry's hidden people—the takers. They signed up for all relevant publications—free and paid—and came to all industry gatherings. They scarfed down drinks and food at luncheons, picked up all the freebies at exhibitor booths and relentlessly picked brains. But the folks in her company never wrote articles and never speechified or appeared on panels.
These are the bloodsuckers, who come to spy and take, take, take without giving anything back.
Her management relented and did not fire her. But, because my publication was the premier collector of junk mail in America, I knew exactly what she was mailing. So every couple of years I wrote and showed a detailed analysis of her catalog. It was with great relish I drove the secretive, paranoid bastards nuts.
The Prolific and Fearless David Ogilvy
David Ogilvy had no such qualms.
Back in the last century, Ogilvy & Mather created a series of full-page newspaper ads promoting itself to current and future clients. In "Ogilvy on Advertising," David Ogilvy wrote:
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 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.