In 1948 David Ogilvy founded his New York ad agency Hewitt, Ogilvy, Benson and Mather.  Soon enough the firm ended up simply named Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide.  Ironically enough when they launched the agency Mr. Ogilvy had never written a single advertisement.

Many years later after achieving a great deal of success he sent this now famous 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.

If you’re not familiar with his work let me share some of his more famous clients.

  • Lever Brothers
  • Rolls Royce
  • General Foods
  • American Express
  • Shell
  • Sears
  • many many more famous brands.

The point of this post?  The point is that even as technology evolves daily we can no forget the fundamentals of advertising.  In much the same that the best basketball players can never forget the fundamentals of the game – we as marketers can’t forget the building blocks upon which all good advertising is built.

So without further adieu let’s get to David Ogilvy’s 7 Deadly Sins of Copy Writing.

1. Be Boring

2. Sling mud at your competitors (this is different than positioning yourself away from your competition)

3. Write copy that lacks charm

4. Break a promise (We see this all too often.  Properties promise a certain type of experience and fail to deliver)

5. Use Jargon (Do you think you customers really use terms like Promotion, Earn and Get etc?)

6. Feature Self-Justifying research.  (Fake research is a very quick way to lose credibility)

7.  Write Copy that Fails to make the cash register ring.  (Ogilvy never let himself forget what advertising is ultimately supposed to accomplish – make money.  Write copy that brings you customers AND their money.

david-ogilvy-quote-never-use-jargon-wordsHouse Edge Digital is a marketing company first and foremost.  We choose to use technology and time saving  innovations to accomplish our goals.  Even the most cutting edge tech is still built on the fundamentals of traditional marketing.  Whichever company you ultimately choose to be your marketing agency make sure they not only understand current technology, but also how it can be used to achieve the century old goals of great marketing.