Five Printable 5×7″ How To’s of David Ogilvy’s ‘Confessions of an Advertising Man’

Confessions of an Advertising Man David Ogilvy

by Nate Schrader

Confessions of an Advertising Man David Ogilvy


It’s tough to know where to start. There’s just that much to talk about.

To sum it up, you can benefit from reading David Ogilvy’s Confessions of an Advertising Man. Ogilvy wrote it primarily as a recruiting tool for attracting new business and new talent for his advertising agency, but I imagine he also wrote it because:

  1. he was fed up with poor advertising, (you’ll get that vibe when you read it)
  2. he wanted to help people advertise better, and
  3. he probably wanted to write his thoughts on paper to reach a new understanding of his craft.

If you’re in marketing, I don’t need to tell you what you’ll appreciate in these tips. And even if you have nothing to do with advertising, you’ll now know a few of the tricks advertisers use to get you to the cash register, and what a bad ad might look like!

Before you get reading though, remember, OGILVY WROTE THIS BOOK IN 1963. Times have certainly changed, which is why you won’t find anything from his chapter on creating TV commercials. The economy is different, people’s buying behaviors are different, and their attitude toward a brand’s role and that brand’s advertising in their life is different.

So, take these tips for what they’re worth. Most still ring startlingly true today.

Chapter II How to Get Clients

Ogilvy Advertising Tips Poster How to Get Clients

(click to print in your browser)

#7 describes why is One Click Ventures’ best property – they have a low unit cost, people everywhere NEED reading glasses, and they are in frequent purchase because owners lose them all the time.

Chapter III How to Keep Clients

Ogilvy Advertising Tips Poster How to Keep Clients

(click to print)

Number three is quite interesting. Ogilvy may mean figuratively sitting on the same side of the table, but it really does help soften things if you do physically sit next to the person rather than across from them. I always thing it’s interesting all tables for two are set up with the seats set across from one another rather than beside one another. If you’ve had a bad date, blame that.

Chapter V How to Build Great Campaigns

Ogilvy Advertising Tips Poster

(click to print)

Number one can be discouraging if you’re in the art world, but it is important to remember the message and purpose matter first. I really wish more advertisers had families with kids to act as a conscience, as in #9, and I think #7 can be a good guide to getting things done efficiently.

Chapter VI How to Write Potent Copy

Ogilvy Advertising Tips Poster How to Write Potent Copy

(click to print)

This little guy is a good reminder for anybody wanting to earn readership. Headlines arouse curiousity, and should promise a benefit. Hopefully you wanted to know what Ogilvy’s 5 How To’s were or to print these graphics. Otherwise, I’ve misread my audience. Rand Fishkin at SEOMoz closed his speech with making the internet a better place. For me, that gave advertising a purpose. Whether you educate, entertain, or inform about a product, it’s imperative your content provide value to the reader.

Chapter VII How to Illustrate Advertisements and Posters

Ogilvy Advertising Tips Poster Illustrate Ads and Posters

(click to print)

Again, we hear substance is more important than form, but one may argue that form may get people to actually stop to read the substance. My favorite is #10 – count just how many billboards on the interstate you absorb that have more than six words. Did you catch the message? Did you know who or what it advertised? What billboards do you even remember, right now? Of course, street corners with stop lights are different, as are subway line graphics. It’s important to remember the needs of the immediate audience from an environmental standpoint and not just a psychological one.

And there you have it. You can now advertise like a genius in the 1960s, and with a little digital education, today as well. I hope this helps you become more aware of your communication and business approach, and that you read Ogilvy’s book. As another internet marketer and SEO friend of One Click Ian Lurie (Portent, Inc.) said in this post back in 2006, it’s a great tool to “return to it often for a renewal of purpose.” The book covers the basics, reminds you to tell the truth, and tells you to provide value to other people. Those things alone are worth the read.


Business Cards & Stationary for Kyle Bender, TFA Corps Member 2012-14

Modern teacher's stationary front 1

Awhile back, my good Lafayette area friend and past college baseball teammate Kyle Bender and I ran into each other. Kyle said he was with Teach for America and his school didn’t have any business cards. So, I made him some.

Of course, I played it safe with the standard traditional format, but I had to take a gamble and do something a little different. Those business cards seem to be kept the longest and remembered the most in my book – the ones that don’t always head straight to the top of the dusty deck in your desk’s bottom drawer. For the unique cards, I tried put the card viewer into a setting like Kyle’s to really appreciate what he’s doing. Kyle chose the standard, most affordable card which probably feels the most professional coming from an educator following a handshake. If the client’s happy, I’m pretty happy.


Kyle Bender Vertical Business Card by Nate Schrader

Traditional horizontal with possible backside:

Teach for America Corps Member Business Card

Kyle also asked for stationary to write thank you’s, notes, and other networking whatnots. After a few emails, I came up with the front of a few cards…

purple templated stationary by Nate Schrader

aged label stationary by Nate Schrader

Note Card Stationary by Nate Schrader

Modern teacher's stationary front 1

Modern Teacher Stationary Front 2 by Nate Schrader

followed by the style he wanted, a one-sided graphic on which he could hand-write:

Professional Stationary Notables by Nate Schrader

All in all, I think it turned out pretty well. Amidst busy schedules and a few emails, we should’ve conversed over the phone or met in person to really understand what the other was thinking.

If you need cards or stationary, don’t be afraid to ask. I’m happy to help where I can.

Advertising Tips: David Ogilvy’s 11 Commandments for Building Great Campaigns

Click here for Ogilvy’s 11 Commandments along with how to get clients, keep clients, write potent copy, and create illustrations.

Something I wish I could’ve done more of in college is morph books into useful, memorable graphics. I’m wrapping up a few books right now, and so follows these quotes from David Ogilvy’s Confessions of an Advertising Man. Some claim it’s a bit outdated, and I will agree, there is quite a contrast with the way an advertiser approaches the consumer today. There really isn’t anything in the book about campaigns that help people other than having helpful messages, but the 1960s were a different time. Still, I think all of these points ring true today.

Click the poster to print, if you like. You may have to zoom in the new window first!

Ogilvy quotes on how to build great campaigns poster

#12. Click this, print it out, and tell all your friends where you found it.

Prepare yourself for a few more of these…

Cannes 2012: Droga5 Knows How to Save a Life with Help Remedies

Help Remedies save a life explanation
Help Remedies save a life explanation

Life saver. Seriously.

On December 10th, Adweek announced agency Droga5 as the US Agency of the Year. They credited Droga5 with the award after Droga5 won the Cannes Grand Prix for Good award this past year for their bone marrow donor campaign for Help Remedies along with another gold Lion for its Prudential campaign. Oh, and don’t forget about their departmental expansion of adding analytics, PR, and strategy departments plus their digital tools development project, De-De. With such growth, it may not surprise you that they increased revenue by 43% at $41 million. While they were at it, they raised another $1 million for Unicef’s Tap Project that provides nonsustaining countries with clean drinking water. Not too shabby financially for some award winning-advertising.

Later in the article, Adweek mentions the financial success of several brands, like Newcastle’s 5% YOY sales jump and Honeymade’s 17% sales increase. However, they fail to mention anything about Help Remedies’ or Prudential’s sales increases. I’m completely for a bandage campaign raising money; helping others is my favorite type of advertising. I just like it when an agency shows their campaign is good for the client so more of it will continue. (After watching the video, sales went up 1900%. Probably not much to start with, but still, that’s a big jump!)

Financial stuff aside, this campaign is absolutely awesome. Help Remedies‘ audience clearly cares about health if they’re willing to buy premium bandages, which makes me think they’re likely to donate to a good cause when their pockets, er, hearts feel like it. I’ve been reading Leo Burnett’s HumanKind after finishing Ogilvy’s Confessions of an Advertising Man. Basically Burnett’s current mindset  is to participate with their audience and solve their audience’s problems, not just the single problem the advertised product solves.

And that’s exactly what Droga5 did: they solved a giant problem for their brand’s audience. A problem bigger than a single cut. With those extra departments they added, Droga5 could’ve discovered one way or another that bone marrow donation blood samples were tough to get. Then, they did a little more than just say, “Hey, why can’t somebody do something about making donor registration easier and more well known?”

Help Remedies cartoon guy

Yeah. We solved the problem.

Droga5 found a solution, or found the people with whom to create the solution. They put a simple & quick registration form inside a bandage box WITH THE BANDAGE. The donation solution is so close to the Help Remedies consumer; you’re already cut and bleeding, the perfect time for a swab sample! The best part in my mind is that after having bone marrow deficient patients on your mind plus your dainty little cut, you just might put on the bandage and think, “Wow. This is nothing compared to a bone marrow transplant.” Then, you might feel guilty or appreciative of your own life and send in your completed donor form… To save a life.

Help Remedies swab sample

The perfect time to give/get a sample.

That’s not advertising. That’s not an attempt to win an award. That’s just making the world a better place.

And by the way – check out Help Remedies’ website. It’s a great example of something that’s interesting and clearly shows their brand just wants to help people. Even if it means showing them with which fork to eat your salad.

image source: The Help Remedies campaign video via Droga5

Andys 2012: DDB’s State Farm “Thanks” 9-11 Commercial Uses New Yorkers to Inspire

State Farm New York ad

I’m taking a break from the Cannes for a minute and taking a look at this Bronze Web Film award winner from the Andys, State Farm’s “Thanks” commercial by DDB Chicago. Like many feel-good commercials whose premise is a (very) loosely related to the product, “Thanks” uses local New York elements to create a sense of community strong enough to bring home an award.

What separates this minute long clip from others is how DDB approached touching America, and in specific, New York City. After watching a behind-the-scenes video, I learned the production team coordinated a choir of New York children to sing NYC born and raised Jay-Z’s “New York.” Combined with clips of locals riding bikes and carrying on with their everyday lives and a local fire department, it helps the viewer feel the pride New York has in its city.  Plus, I’m sure New Yorkers could connect with those elements even better and appreciated those local elements even more than an outsider.

Americans have a strong industrial drive to achieve success, especially in New York. I visited the city on a networking trip in college and two different people told me “if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.” The song’s lyrics embody that push for more amidst the bright lights. I think the choir gives the song a dreamy feel, and the fact that it’s a choir of kids turns your focus towards the future of New York. The kids and the people walking the streets are why firefighters and police officers risked their lives. By emphasizing the kids, we look forward to the future. When the tragic events happened with some time passing, I think admiring how far New York has come and emphasizing where it’s going is an inspiring take.

At first, the commercial irked me because it felt like it doesn’t really have anything to do with insurance. But State Farm showing they care about 9/11’s recovery is a representation of people in their service industry. Insurance salesmen typically care about more than a client’s financial needs. They care about their client’s hopes and dreams and what’s going on in their current lives to get the client to those dreams. Similarly, a company’s brand identity should endorse that same behavior as State Farm does by showing their concern on a national level.

Not every brand should make thank you statements, but I hope for those where it is appropriate, that they choose to do so. State Farm shouldn’t have to say thank you on the awards podium. We should.

Cannes Analysis #2: Chipotle Uses Animation to Take You Back To the Start

Chipotle Back to the Start farm family

If a person in advertising had to define their title, ‘storyteller’ would rise to the upper echelon of the list. No matter what background, every single business has a history. It came from somewhere based on an ideal or two that drove the owner(s) to break through the wall and succeed. You can spin a story however you like, but often times, they are inspiring due to a small business’s circumstances at the start. CAA agency’s lengthy Chipotle advertisement won the 2012 Branded Content Lions Grand Prix award for telling Chipotle’s simple, inspirational story in a well-fitting stop-motion technique.

The ad opens with a claymation farmer’s family and their grazing pig standing on a farm. The pig seems part of the family, like a dog. This relationship slowly changes as we cheer for the farmer to build up his farm as become a success. Commercialization turns Mr. Farmer’s land into more of a factory manufacturing ‘produce’ food. Then late at night, the farmer comes to the realization that something isn’t quite right about how he reaches the end product. The pig no longer feels like the family pet. The farmer then tears down the assembly line and returns to the way he started: treating animals as more than just a consumable product.

The farmer’s coming of conscience message is probably what won the award. Organic and fresh food promotions are nothing new, but the ad focuses on the animal’s benefit, not the person’s health benefit from consuming organic food. We hoped for the farmer to succeed at the beginning of the commercial and made a true connection. This connection then forces the viewer to also question if our current food production methods are okay. It’s easy to say something is bad, and even to show how something is bad, but Chipotle goes above and beyond and makes the viewer come to Chipotle’s conclusion on the viewer’s own will.

Let’s not forget about the execution, which has a lot to do with connecting to the farmer and showing animal mistreatment without being over the top. In one episode of Mad Men, Peggy presents a new animation technology showing dancing beans to make the client’s product look more exciting and fun. The client didn’t really go for it, but they liked the approach because bean close-ups look reminiscent of intestines. Pretty gruesome, right? Similarly, the Chipotle ad avoids potentially gruesome factory scenes that you can get watching Food Inc. Instead of wanting to vomit, the audience feels warm in fuzzy inside watching little piggies and pleasantly plump farmers wonder about.

The cartoon approach also lets CAA exaggerate til believable, like in the Nike FuelBand ad. The blimp-shaped pigs on the production line look just disproportionate enough to make you feel uncomfortable without making you feel jaded towards the message Chipotle wishes to convey. Last, because the farmer isn’t a real person with a defined face, more people can connect with him. Add in some country-vibe Willie Nelson singing a touchingly relevant Coldyplay song, and Chipotle has your heart right where they want it. I could do without the absurdly round people, but maybe that’s Chipotle’s shot at making you feel okay about eating a massive burrito.

Chipotle factory ad

The pigs are just disproportionate enough to make you feel uncomfortable while not seeming too exaggerated to lose the viewer’s respect for their message.

Perhaps the best part about this advertisement from a sales point of view is it will sell burritos too. Chipotle competes with consumers in the upper tier of fast food: Jimmy Johns, Qdoba, Moe’s, Yatz, etc. – places that cost a little more to sit and eat but keep your watch happy while doing so. These potential consumers have the wallets to choose to be environmentally conscious, which is why this ad’s message is a great unique selling point to associate with Chipotle.

People in this target market probably use iTunes frequently, and by adding the iTunes snippet at the end, Chipotle seems up to date on technology and makes going off and buying the song on iTunes feel okay. Plus, the song can go in conversations and places that a commercial/Youtube video can’t and will remind the listener of Chipotle and their message… Perhaps at a quarter til noon?

The Chipotle ad couldn’t have been executed any better. The animation approach opens the door to connect with the farmer and the pigs while avoiding unappealing images, and the music puts people in the right frame of mind while taking the client’s presence much further than the television. Chipotle’s message makes you feel great about what they’re doing and may earn enough respect to make a purchase. But to win an award, they ask you to ‘Cultivate a Better World,’ which you’ve already accepted to do with the farmer halfway through the ad. That free-will decision wins my award.

Chiptole Cultivate a Better World sign

to win in an award, they ask you to ‘Cultivate a Better World,’ which you’ve already accepted to do with the farmer halfway through the ad.

Image source:

Cannes 2012 Analysis #1: Nike FuelBand a Marketing Strategy or a Product?

Nike FuelBand photo

Nike FuelBand photo

When I saw Nike as my first Cannes award to analyze, I was pretty excited. I’ve heard a lot about the Nike FuelBand. I assumed it was deserving of awards just after hearing ‘Nike.’ I mean, Nike does have a lot of good advertisements including the recent “Find your greatness” campaign. But after thinking about this a bit, I’m not so sure the FuelBand belongs in this awards show. I guess it helps to know the criteria for the Cyber Lions 2012 award, but we’ll have to move forward without it.

From a creative perspective, there’s really nothing flashy or inspiring about the product’s promotion. One ad on the Nike site shows athletes with their Fuel Points measurements increasing as they perform, and another simply shows the band with voiceover features. Another ad is more developed with energetic music, trendy bright neon colors, quick action shots cut by branded Nike block letters. The cartoon character appearances hint that any activity can be measured, no matter how crazy. This ad is a little more exciting, but Apple iPod commercials can do just as well.

The product itself is something to marvel… if you haven’t heard of it’s predecessor, the Nike Plus iPod Sport Kit. The transition isn’t mind-blowing; the Sport Kit measures activity, and so does the FuelBand. Yipee. But from a developer’s and a community creator’s viewpoint, the FuelBand is revolutionary. The FuelBand can measure and compare physical activity across numerous sports. Where the Sport Kit and your phone’s GPS-based apps measure a single activity and form communities of a single sport, Nike found a way to unite and motivate athletes across the board. The product encourages each user to become more physically active, and it unites people no matter their background. For this, I think Nike won the award.

Nike Plus Sport Kit photo

The Nike Plus Sport Kit. A small step from the FuelBand + a fancy pedometer.

But does it fall into the marketing/advertising digital sector? Is it asking you to purchase Nike, or to simply exercise? Because last time I checked, the act of playing sports belongs to nobody. The FuelBand asks people to exercise, not purchase Nike’s product. Shoot, judging by the above commercial, it just asks people to move.  I like that everybody can participate, no matter their flavor of activity. The FuelBand’s absence of exclusitivity to sports gives Nike the ability to penetrate markets they don’t even merchandise in yet. I’ll give some FuelPoints for that.

I understand they’re creating a community that becomes more loyal to their brand as the brand becomes more beneficial to the user, which in turn will generate sales. I can respect that too. Perhaps that’s the marketing aspect that qualifies it as a Cannes digital nominee, along with the fact that it could be the sneakiest way to collect the most amount of user-specific activity-based data ever. Yes, Nike won an award for erasing lines lumping athletes and dancers into one bucket they call a community. But they had to create a product to do it.

Product photos from

An Analytical Approach to the Creative Cannes: A Study

thinking statue

When you hear the word ‘analyst,’ what do you think of? Somebody good with numbers that can calculate derivatives and correlate between two or three data sets? Most people do. But I feel that title on my (first) business card carries much more weight than just the ability to comprehend and work with numbers.

Being analytical simply means listening to things around you and attempting to understand why you see what you see. Numbers can indicate trends, but so can the words from a conversation, or the actions from a couple window shopping at the mall. Being an analyst simply means playing the “why” game at all seconds of the day. It means being aware and being observant.

In one of his books, David Olgilvy says that “creative people are especially observant, and they value accurate observation more than other people do.” Now I am by no means calling myself creative, but I do strive to become more creative than what I am. That doesn’t mean being able to draw a better picture, or create a better song. Creativity means being able to draw from a variety of areas and combine thoughts of different realms into a unique, unconventional solution to a problem. It could be art. It could be engineering a better manufacturing line. It could be explaining the Civil War to grade schoolers in a new way. But for me, I would like these creative solutions to take the form of how to reach and inspire broad masses of people in general. Whether to buy a product, volunteer, or simply challenge their comfortable weekday routine, I aim to better understand what you can say that makes people do something outside of normalcy.

Insert the Cannes, and perhaps a few other advertising awards. These awards mostly reward creativity particularly in advertising, where one attempts to persuade somebody to act. Some ads attempt to drive a purchase or subscription. Some try for something more, an inspired action that will make that person a better person. No matter what, these awards indicate a source of unconventional methods to accomplish the goal of inspiration. Yes, movies and books similarly do the same, but everyone sees marketing and advertising campaigns, whether they like it or not. I hope by analyzing, by observing, by being alert to these communicators’ best attempts at inspiring their targets that I will at gain a better understanding than my foundation of coaching pep talks and meetings I have already received.

The process is simple. Once every other day, analyze an award winning ad. Understand why it won an award, yes, but also question if it accomplished the end goal of an inspired or educated consumer willing to make a purchase (or a person to become a better person). Explore different mediums. Halfway through, check if thoughts align with the judges’ requirements. Thus, the latter half will include a critique on the work aligning with a) the business’s goals, b) the award requirements, and c) my own thoughts.

If at the very least, I will have expanded the library on which to draw ideas.

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