Everyone’s crazy about the hit “Mad Men” on AMC.
And for good reason, because it’s a testament to the art of writing in general, and the show’s writing in particular.
In case you’re wondering what, or rather who, the show’s all about — David Ogilvy was the most sought-after advertising man in the heyday of ‘joyous mingling’ and ‘three-martini lunches’ up-and-down Madison Avenue.
Writing tips: “Good writing is the key to success”
Ogilvy championed writing as the key to success.
In Lists of Note you can find an internal memo sent to all employees of his advertising agency in 1982.
The better you write, the higher you go in Ogilvy & Mather. People who think well, write well.
Woolly minded people write woolly memos, woolly letters and woolly speeches.
Good writing is not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well. Here are 10 hints:
1. Read the Roman-Raphaelson book on writing*. Read it three times.
2. Write the way you talk. Naturally.
3. Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs.
4. Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass.
5. Never write more than two pages on any subject.
6. Check your quotations.
7. Never send a letter or a memo on the day you write it. Read it aloud the next morning—and then edit it.
8. If it is something important, get a colleague to improve it.
9. Before you send your letter or your memo, make sure it is crystal clear what you want the recipient to do.
10. If you want ACTION, don’t write. Go and tell the guy what you want.
After just a few months working in the advertising business, Ogilvy took the discipline in an entirely new direction. A man walked into Ogilvy’s London agency wanting to advertise the opening of his hotel. Since he had only $500, he was directed 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. “I had tasted blood”, says Ogilvy in his Confessions of an Advertising Man’.
This is also the incident leading him to understanding the importance of Direct Advertising, his “Secret Weapon” as he says in Ogilvy on Advertising. “Direct Marketing was my first love. Later it became my ‘secret weapon'”.
What do you think? What would David Ogilvy would think about Social Media and “Marketing on the Internet?”