David Ogilvy is known as one of the primary experts in the field of advertising, and his Ogilvy on Advertising is looked upon by many of his peers as the definitive text on the subject. The purpose of this paper is to write a critical evaluation of what the book's primary ideas are, offering as many opinions and examples as possible.
Ogilvy wants to deal with all aspects of his career, and so he includes a section for the novice on how to break into the business. For the most part, Ogilvy emphasizes education. For example, he states that "to get a job in the Research Department of a good agency, you probably need a degree in statistics or psychology" (p. 35).
It is clear to the author that nothing can replace on-the-job experience, but he is a firm believer in the fact that a good liberal arts education is good preparation for the rigors of agency work. His comment that "copywriters may not be the most visible people in agencies, but they are the most important" (p. 32) could very well be a command to prospective ad writers to get a solid educational background in creative writing before focusing on advertising copy.
Ogilvy knows that advertising is a business, plain and simple. He is a great admirer of creative ad campaigns, but he still knows that advertising's bottom line is to sell its products. Often in the business it is difficult to ascertain exactly what an ad campaign's contribution to product sales is, but Ogilvy always comes from the point of view that advertising has to be created with the clients' monetary needs in mind.
This concept is dealt with thoroughly in Chapter 8, which is entitled "How to make TV commercials that sell." Ogilvy is unusual for an advertising executive in that he never stoops to underestimating the consumer's intelligence. He theorizes that banal ad work is always counterproductive, and he attributes consumer sophistication to major exposure to media:
"The average American ...