David Ogilvy "it proves two things (A) at 25 I was brilliantly clever and (B) I have learned nothing new in the subsequent 27 years"
Every advertisement must tell the whole sales story, because the public does not read advertisements in series.
The copy must be human and very simple, keyed right down to its market - a market in which self-conscious artwork and fine language serve only to make buyers wary.
Every word in the copy must count... cliches must give way to facts, and empty exhortations to alluring offers. Facetiousness in advertising is a device dear to the amateur but anathema to the advertising agent, who knows that permanent success has rarely been built on frivolity and that people do not buy from clowns.
Superlatives belong to the marketplace and have no place in a serious advertisement; they lead readers to discount the realism of very claim.
Apparently, monotony of treatment must be tolerated, because only the manufacturer reads all his own advertisements.
More on David Ogilvy on the Ogilvy site and this memo is from his "Unpublished David Ogilvy"
In 1948, he founded the New York-based ad agency Hewitt, Ogilvy, Benson & Mather (which eventually became Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide), with the financial backing of London agency Mather & Crowther. He had never written an advertisement in his life.
Thirty-three years later, he sent the following memo to one of his partners:
Will Any Agency Hire This Man?
He is 38, and unemployed. He dropped out of college.
He has been a cook, a salesman, a diplomatist and a farmer.
He knows nothing about marketing and had never written any copy.
He professes to be interested in advertising as a career (at the age of 38!) and is ready to go to work for $5,000 a year.
I doubt if any American agency will hire him.
However, a London agency did hire him. Three years later he became the most famous copywriter in the world, and in due course built the tenth biggest agency in the world.
The moral: it sometimes pays an agency to be imaginative and unorthodox in hiring."
I do wonder if there's much room for this imaginative hiring nowadays.
Image source: By Advertising Hall of fame - Advertising Hall of fame, Copyrighted free use, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1479510