Book Summary: Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy

Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy Book Cover

David Ogilvy’s “Ogilvy on Advertising” is a significant and influential book in the world of marketing and advertising. A seminal work in the field, this book draws upon the extensive experience of David Ogilvy, one of the most notable figures in advertising history. Ogilvy’s hands-on experience in crafting and executing campaigns for a vast array of products and services gives his insights a practical edge, making it a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the art and science of effective advertising.

Chapter 1: How to Produce Advertising That Sells

The opening chapter of the book is a powerful introduction to Ogilvy’s philosophy about what makes an effective advertisement. Ogilvy emphasizes the importance of selling and argues that the ultimate goal of any advertisement is to sell a product or service. He provides a range of practical tips for crafting advertisements that sell, including the importance of research, the use of compelling headlines, and the power of well-crafted copy.

Chapter 2: How to Create Brand Image

In the second chapter, Ogilvy delves into the process of creating a brand image. He stresses the importance of a consistent and compelling brand image in establishing a connection with the target audience. The chapter provides practical advice on ways to build and maintain a strong brand image through various advertising techniques.

Chapter 3: The Secrets of Successful Television Commercials

Here, Ogilvy turns his attention to the world of television advertising. He shares his insights about what makes a TV commercial successful, highlighting the importance of storytelling, understanding the audience, and delivering a clear message. He also discusses the use of celebrity endorsements and the power of memorable jingles.

Chapter 4: Direct Mail – The Cinderella Medium

In this chapter, Ogilvy explores the potential of direct mail as a powerful advertising medium. He calls it the ‘Cinderella Medium’ because, despite its effectiveness, it is often overlooked. He provides guidelines on how to make direct mail pieces more engaging and effective, stressing the importance of personalization and a strong call-to-action.

Chapter 5: Advertising Corporations

Ogilvy addresses the unique challenges involved in advertising for corporations in this chapter. He argues that corporate advertising must go beyond selling products or services and should aim to build a positive image for the entire organization. He emphasizes the necessity of integrity and social responsibility in corporate advertising.

Chapter 6: Science in Advertising

The sixth chapter delves into the role of science in advertising. Ogilvy discusses how research, testing, and data analysis can enhance the effectiveness of advertising campaigns. He also highlights the importance of understanding consumer psychology and behavior.

Chapter 7: How to Get a Job in Advertising

In this chapter, Ogilvy offers advice for those seeking to enter the advertising industry. He provides tips for crafting an impressive portfolio, acing interviews, and building a successful career in advertising. He also shares his thoughts on the essential skills and qualities needed in the industry.

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Chapter 8: Should Good Wine Need an Introduction?

The final chapter of the book explores the concept of advertising for products that have a reputation for quality. Ogilvy argues that even high-quality products need advertising to maintain their market position and fend off competition. He provides tips for advertising such products, emphasizing the need to reinforce the product’s quality and reputation consistently.


“Ogilvy on Advertising” is a seminal work that provides a comprehensive overview of the principles and practices of effective advertising. Drawing upon his vast experience and success in the industry, David Ogilvy provides practical advice and insights that are relevant even in the contemporary world of digital advertising. The book is a timeless resource for advertisers, marketers, and anyone else interested in understanding the dynamics of persuasive communication.

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