This week I read Confessions of an Advertising Man. I hadn't thought to read Confessions of an Advertising Man until very recently. Even though I've spent my last 4 years in ad-tech, I never really considered myself to be in advertising. My ad-tech life was always a separate world from the Mad Men-esque image that pops into most peoples minds when advertising is mentioned.
Nevertheless, I'm glad I took the plunge and read it. For one, the first half is about starting a company, getting clients and keeping them happy -- all things that are top of mind since I founded Rockerbox. Ogilvy gives candid accounts of what worked and didn't work as he grew his agency -- I found myself jotting down lots of his one-liners throughout the book.
The thing that shocked me most was Ogilvy's true love and passion for the art of advertising. This was especially surprising given my ad-tech roots, where advertising is often dismissed as "just a medium" through which we get the opportunity to solve fun and difficult technical problems.
For Ogilvy, his obsession was advertising, going so far as to give his son the following career advice :
The psychiatrists say that everyone should have a hobby, The hobby I recommend is advertising...
I don't see myself switching to a full-time advertising hobby, but I have to give Ogilvy credit -- he knew what he loved and spent his life building on it.
I could write more but Ogilvy does a better job. Some good lines from the book :
The surest way to overspend on advertising is not to spend enough to do a job properly. It's like buying a ticket three-quarters of the way to Europe; you have spent some money, but you do not arrive
Nowadays it is the fashion to pretend that no single individual is ever responsible for a successful advertising campaign. This emphasis on "team-work" is bunkum -- a conspiracy of the mediocre majority.
Advertising nourishes the consuming power of men. It sets up before a man the goal of a better home, better clothing, better food for himself and his family. It spurs individual exertion and greater production
I believe in the Scottish proverb, 'Hard work never killed a man', men die of boredom, psychological conflict and disease. They do not die of hard work