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Why David Ogilvy is the Father of Advertising: We Sell or Else.

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

Photo of David OgilvyIf you don’t know a lot about “The Father of Advertising,” please invest a few minutes with David Makenzie Ogilvy. Your return on investment will be an insight to some of the most powerful and effective ideas in advertising.

This is a tiny piece of advertising industry history, but we can assure you that David Ogilvy’s ideas apply to healthcare advertising and medical marketing today. In a brief but passionate film clip, the iconic Ogilvy reveals, among other things, his “secret weapon.”

We suspect that this short clip is probably close to 50 years old, and Ogilvy—himself 70-something at the time—talks about the importance of direct marketing. And he predicts that his secret weapon will become the dominant factor in advertising.

David Ogilvy: We sell or else.

David Ogilvy (1911-1999) founded Ogilvy & Mather on the idea that the function of advertising is to sell. And that successful advertising is based on information about the product’s consumer.

An online bio tells this story: “A man walked into Ogilvy's London agency wanting to advertise the opening of his hotel. Since he had just $500 he turned to the novice, David Ogilvy. Ogilvy bought $500 worth of postcards and sent invitations to everybody he found in the local telephone directory. The hotel opened with a full house.” And direct advertising emerged as Ogilvy’s first love and secret weapon.

As he explains in the clip, Ogilvy knows that direct response advertising works and that headlines and copy about benefits sell more that “cute headlines.” He also reminds us that direct advertising is measurable…to the dollar. And in the end, “we sell or else.”

Ogilvy’s vision about advertising, and the fundamental concepts he presents in this video are foundations of effective advertising today. And if you’d like to immerse yourself in making healthcare marketing and advertising work for you, take a look at the agenda for our 2-day Advanced Healthcare Marketing Strategies program. It could become your secret weapon.

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