Back in the ’60s and early ’70s, advertising/marketing was such a dynamic force in America that it was tantamount to alchemy, and everybody wanted to be part of the action. Anyone who wasn’t a psychology major in college was going for a degree in marketing.

There were many great creative lions of that era, upon which some of the characters from the hit show, Mad Men, are based. Names like Bill Bernbach, Fran Kelly, and Leo Burnett were legendary among the hallowed halls of the great ad agencies. They, and many others, brought marketing and advertising to the level of art. But possibly the greatest Mad Man among them, and one of the most widely quoted, was David Ogilvy, founder of Ogilvy & Mather. Ogilvy was a gifted creative mind and a very good writer. Herewith are some of his pearls extracted from his several books on the subject, each providing a short but sweet marketing lesson:

When they walk in your store, forget about you. Ogilvy believed it was all about the customer, that the focus had to be on them. And while what you offer needs to be unique and engaging, it has to address their view of themselves and not marginalize them. One of Ogilvy’s other favorite quotes was: “The consumer is not a moron. She is your wife.”

Craft a message that owns one word or idea in the prospect’s mind. When you think of luxury cars, you think of Mercedes-Benz; when you think of tech innovation, you think of Appleā€¦these brands are so powerful that just their logos can stimulate consumer emotion. Retail giants like Pearle Vision and Lenscrafters have done this very effectively, but size is not a requirement here. One can stand for luxury eyewear or good value or family eyecare.

Attract customers, but more importantly create fans. Customers are great, but customers are fickle. Fans, on the other hand, are defined by their loyalty, which is built from a sense of belonging to something; an invitation that must be conveyed through one’s marketing. Why else would middle- aged guys put Harley-Davidson tattoos on their forearms? Also, fans make the best brand missionaries, while customers often make the best brand critics.

Ogilvy was a great marketing mind, albeit a little eccentric. For example, he believed that drinking two or three brandies provided for the most creative moments. That one’s your call.

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