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Advertising That Sells (Part 4) – Big Ideas

David Ogilvy

4. Big ideas.

Unless your advertising is built on a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night. It takes a big idea to jolt the consumer out of his indifference – to make him notice your advertising, remember it and take action.

Big ideas are usually simple ideas. Said Charles Kettering, the great General Motors inventor: “this problem, when solved, will be simple.” Big, simple ideas are not easy to come by. They require genius – and midnight oil. A truly big one can be continued for 20 years – like our eye patch for Hathaway shirts.

Previous entries

View previous entries in the ‘How to create advertising that sells’ series from David Ogilvy on the Minerva Copywriting website:

Discover more

Find out more about David Ogilvy’s acclaimed tenets of advertising across the Minerva Copywriting website, starting at the beginning of ‘How to create advertising that sells‘.

Alternatively, you can find out more about the copywriting services provided by Minerva Copywriting today. Simply browse our website and discover more about the SEO content writing, advertising copy, email marketing, and social media content services currently available from our friendly and experienced team.

You can even contact our friendly team today by submitting an online enquiry form or by calling FREE on 0800 180 4085. We’ll be happy to provide you with a free sample of work, and also quote you on any content or copywriting requirements you may have.

Advertising That Sells (Part 3) – Brand Image

David Ogilvy

3. Brand image.

Every advertisement should contribute to the complex symbol which is the brand image. 95% of all advertising is created ad hoc. Most products lack any consistent image from one year to another.

The manufacturer who dedicates his advertising to building the most sharply defined personality for his brand gets the largest share of the market.

Previous entries

View previous entries in the ‘How to create advertising that sells’ series from David Ogilvy on the Minerva Copywriting website:

Discover more

Find out more about David Ogilvy’s acclaimed tenets of advertising across the Minerva Copywriting website, starting at the beginning of ‘How to create advertising that sells‘.

Alternatively, you can find out more about the copywriting services provided by Minerva Copywriting today. Simply browse our website and discover more about the SEO content writing, advertising copy, email marketing, and social media content services currently available from our friendly and experienced team.

You can even contact our friendly team today by submitting an online enquiry form or by calling FREE on 0800 180 4085. We’ll be happy to provide you with a free sample of work, and also quote you on any content or copywriting requirements you may have.

Advertising That Sells (Part 2) – Large Promise

David Ogilvy

2. Large promise.

The second most important decision is this: what should you promise the customer?

A promise is not a claim, or a theme, or a slogan. It is a benefit for the consumer. It pays to promise a benefit which is unique and competitive, and the product must deliver the benefit your promise.

Most advertising promises nothing. It is doomed to fail in the marketplace.

“Promise, large promise, is the soul of an advertisement” – said Samuel Johnson.

Previous entries

View previous entries in the ‘How to create advertising that sells’ series from David Ogilvy on the Minerva Copywriting website:

Discover more

Find out more about David Ogilvy’s acclaimed tenets of advertising across the Minerva Copywriting website, starting at the beginning of ‘How to create advertising that sells‘.

Alternatively, you can find out more about the copywriting services provided by Minerva Copywriting today. Simply browse our website and discover more about the SEO content writing, advertising copy, email marketing, and social media content services currently available from our friendly and experienced team.

You can even contact our friendly team today by submitting an online enquiry form or by calling FREE on 0800 180 4085. We’ll be happy to provide you with a free sample of work, and also quote you on any content or copywriting requirements you may have.

Super Bowl 2014 adverts

It’s the biggest game of the year in the American sporting calendar: Super Bowl 2014. As much as viewers around the globe will be glued to the action between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos, many in the world of marketing will be eagerly anticipating another iconic institution of Super Bowl Sunday – the half time adverts.

Millions upon millions of dollars are spent each year on the production and placement of great adverts in the most coveted slot in television. But what can viewers expect this year? From British villains to David Beckham revealing more than you might imagine, there’s humour, emotion and, above all else, big budgets on show. Take a look at some of the best Super Bowl 2014 adverts below.

Jaguar: British Villains

Sodastream: Sorry, Coke and Pepsi

Kia: The Truth

H&M: David Beckham Covered or Uncovered?

Volkswagen: Wings

Budweiser: Puppy Love

Lessons from the movies

It’s safe to say I’m something of a film buff. Whenever I have a few free hours, I’ll happily settle down and tune in to a movie, looking for that period of escapism cinema and movies provide.

On one such evening recently, I found myself watching the 2010 offering from Guy Moshe, Bunraku. Something of a commercial failure – it currently has a less than flattering rating on review aggregator, Rotten Tomatoes – it gave me a strong reminder about how, as writers and creatives, we can take inspiration from anywhere and learn valuable lessons from other people’s work.

Story is everything

Taking a look at some of the reviews online, the biggest criticism of Bunraku came for the actual story. High praise was reserved for the visceral charm of the film, with its theatrical use of shifting backdrops and comic book-style aesthetics applauded from all corners. And, take my word for it, Bunraku offered a visual appeal that actively sought to be different. Such directorial ambition can only be commended.

But I digress. The fact criticism of the story was so prominent in reviews highlights a fundamental issue that all too common: the tendency to place style over substance. If you don’t have a message to send, what you produce will be nothing but a hollow – albeit pretty – vessel.

Success in style

That’s not to say, of course, that style should be ignored. Presentation plays a huge part in both attracting attention and retaining interest. Without the correct packaging, the best story can go unnoticed, the best songs unheard, and the best products shelved. But while we may be a fickle species, we are one of great intellect.

Keeping to the movie theme, there are countless instances of style and substance combining to communicate an artistic statement. While Bunraku lacked any characters with which viewers could truly relate or empathise, and the storyline was somewhat disjointed and devoid of suspense, others have tackled a similar premise and been able to establish a relationship between audience and protagonists, all through keeping focussed on the story.

Take, for example, Memento. Like Bunraku, this movie was driven by a desire for revenge. The main difference in story substance, however, was that Memento had focus and intrigue. The direction and non-linear presentation of the story had a style with few peers, singling it out among a crowd, yet it was the connection to the characters that stirred emotions. Yes, they had unsavoury character traits, but we empathised with them in their plight, and joined them on a journey.

Connecting through content

Great content should make you, as the audience, feel engaged; Bunraku, regrettably, failed on this point. There’s no reason why your content should. While the medium for your content may change, the underlying principle is that the story – and the message – you’re trying to convey should take priority at all times.

Focus first on the message you want to convey, then turn your attention to the presentation. Following this formula, you will soon be preparing rich, engaging content that connects with your audience.

Volkswagen adverts

Volkswagen adverts are among the very best in the automotive industry. In being able to hire some of the finest creative minds at some of the biggest agencies around the world, it’s perhaps no surprise that it continues to display its creativity in new and entertaining ways. After all, this is the company for which the iconic ‘Think Small’ concept revolutionised how manufacturers could make a big impact through embracing simplicity.

What is particularly noticeable about Volkswagen is its willingness to embrace humour. As a brand that delivers sturdy, reliable models, it’s always refreshing to see Volkswagen take such a laidback approach to advertising its products. While some of the more recent Volkswagen adverts (shown below) may not stand the test of time, we should still commend Volkswagen for at least continuing its easy-going trend.

Volkswagen’s warning

Few brands – let alone within the automotive sector – can lay claim to such challenging, clever, and effective advertising as Volkswagen. This latest print advert, which can be seen on Ads of the World, is simple yet effective. While initially there may not be much going on visually, the copy and minimalist nature of the image work together perfectly to communicate the warning. As is so often the case, the simplest ideas are the most effective.

The advert, which highlights the dangers of texting while driving, was created by Ogilvy and Mather Cape Town.

Let us know what you think of this advert below.

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