How to create advertising that sells (by David Ogilvy)

Read: How to create advertising that sells

What can I learn?

Make your product great and beautiful: A great product allows you to promise great benefits which the product can actually deliver. In addition, your product should look beautiful. Man is a visual animal. If you product looks awful, they conclude that you product is awful.

Sell in the headline and caption: The most people scan pages. They see the headlines and captions. Don’t miss these opportunities to sell your product.

Use news: Often marketers neglect this opportunity (however bloggers often get it). How can you react to topical news? Imagine that there is big news on digital data theft. Depending on what you are selling, you could write an article about preventing data theft, release an ad that your servers are more secure or, if you have deeper knowledge, giving interviews to journalist.


This is a pretty remarkable ad. Firstly, Ogilvy & Mather understood in den 70ies that you can increase your sales if you give away valuable information. Secondly, the last paragraph is brilliant. They show you their 38 principles of successful advertising but say:

Ogilvy & Mather has developed a separate and specialized body of knowledge on what makes for success in advertising food products, tourist destinations, proprietary medicines, children’s product – and other classifications.

That is, you can tackle the problem on your own or hire experts who are specialized into these sectors and who can afford to give away valuable information for free.

(via 1,900 word ad “How to create advertising that sells” written by David Ogilvy)

#23/111: Grinding It Out

What is it about?

I have always believed that each man makes his own happiness and is responsible for his own problems. That’s the first sentence in this book and Ray Kroc meant it. He describes his pursuit of happiness from a piano player to the chairman of McDonald’s.

Key points?

You are responsible for your own life: In the early years a franchisee opened a McDonald’s restaurant nearly to some other burger restaurant. The other restaurant offered burgers for 10 cents each (15 cents at McDonald’s) but people got their fries and milk shakes at McDonald’s. After a while the other restaurant lowered all prices to 10 cents. The manager of McDonald’s called Ray Kroc and asked if he should inform the Center for Combating Unfair Competition. Ray Kroc said: “No, make burger which are worth 15 cents.”

Stay Green: Basically you should try to get not too conservative or too comfortable. “When you’re green, you’re growing. When you’re ripe, you rot.” Try new things, be open and don’t afraid of failure. At McDonald’s they introduce a lot of new meals, some fail, some prosper (e.g. the BigMac).

QSC and V: Quality, Service, Cleanness and Value these are the main values of McDonald’s. They are easily portable to other businesses.


What a great book! I love how Ray Kroc impersonates the American Dream. He worked hard, he took responsibility for himself and he helped other people to reach their dreams. Definitely a recommendation!