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David Ogilvy

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I was recently in the hot seat for a monthly live Twitter event organised by ProCopywriters called #ProCopyChat. It’s basically an hour where the guest fields questions about copy. It was pretty intense with chatter flying all over the shop, but it was also a lot of fun. In case you didn’t get to catch the event live, or wanted to review my answers all in one place, I thought it would be a good…

Before we get into this piece… A thank you. Thank you to all those readers who took part in my live webinar last Thursday (30th August). It was great to chat to you and from the feedback I’ve had, people found it really useful. That’s great. If you were unable to attend but you did pre-order the book, you should have received an email from me with the recording. Plus…you should have received a link…

“Er…it’s actually fruit infusion for me.” What? I’d just asked fellow copywriter, André Spiteri, if he prefers putting the milk in before the tea bag or after the water. I live a pretty controversial life myself by putting the milk in first… And in Earl Grey no less, an already-too-weak-tea in most people’s eyes. But blimey… This Spiteri chap blows my blasphemy out of the water. “Yeah,” he goes on, “I’m not a tea drinker…

David Ogilvy or David Lynch? I ask. “As a copywriter,” Gareth replies, “I’ve got to go with Ogilvy. He’s the main man on Main Street. The don. I did enjoy Twin Peaks as a kid, though.” Charles Bukowski or Charles Saatchi? I continue. “Tough one that. Saatchi has done loads in copywriting and in art, but I’m giving Bukowski the nod. I like that downtrodden, underdog realism stuff. He championed the marginalised brilliantly. A good…

You ever get the fear? I do. All the time. That feeling when you’re staring at a blank page and just don’t know where to begin. How in the holy chicken nugget are you going to spew forth 40-50 pages of a sales letter from nothing? You start sweating…pacing the room…eating more biscuits than any one person should. You start imagining yourself in other careers…train driver…estate agent…children’s entertainer…who wants to be a copywriter anyway…it’s a…

“Were you two trying to kill me?” This is what Drayton shouts at me across the room. There I am, loitering at the back of an AWAI copywriting conference in Florida a few years back with my good friend, Mike Ford. We’re chatting waiting for the first speaker of the day to come on. But, all of a sudden, looking somewhat green around the gills – and, to be fair, so am I at this…

If you work in copywriting, there’s probably a copy of The Copywriter’s Handbook somewhere near you… Maybe it’s in that drawer you’ve not checked for a while… or hidden on the shelf between the Ogilvy, Hopkins and Schwartz… heck, it might be right next to you, acting as a coaster. Point is: this book is everywhere. And so it should be. You see, its author Robert W. Bly – or Bob, as he’s better known – is one of the most respected copywriters…

“Sell, or else,” pronounced legendary ad man, David Ogilvy many a decade ago. And, ever since, this unflinching commandment has been passed down from copywriter to copywriter. It’s the great leveller; the simple reminder that whatever the media, your aim remains the same: you sell, my boy, you sell if it’s the last thing you do. But is it the right aim? Or rather, is it the right message? Is the perceived wisdom of ‘a…

Reassurance isn’t a term that’s widely used in copywriting. Have a quick scan through the index pages of Cialdini’s Influence, Daniel H. Pink’s To Sell is Human or even Ogilvy’s On Advertising and you won’t find any special preference given to the word. Does that make it redundant? Does the fact that late greats and modern thinkers alike haven’t targeted the concept of ‘reassurance’ mean that it isn’t something to think about? No way. I…

Another copywriter has been amusing my girlfriend! But it’s OK. There’s nothing dodgy going on. In fact, if you’ve ever seen the famous copywriter Drayton Bird give a talk, you’ll already know he’s a charming old sod.And irreverent too, which is probably why I get on with him. (I guess our shared appreciation of swearing helps too.) I’ve seen him speak a few times now. But over in the US recently, it was the first…