Almost 50 years ago, David Ogilvy put pen to paper and produced “Confessions of An Advertising Man”.
You might think such a book written so long ago has little to offer us today.
You would be wrong.
True, our world is increasingly made up of bits and bytes and the pressures that come with becoming a digital world now reach around the globe.
But that doesn’t mean Ogilvy’s words aren’t as useful as when he first wrote them.
Not at all.
Typewriters are dead. Telephones have morphed into personal information devices we carry everywhere. Photography has changed so much that it’s hard to remember a time when “Photo Mat” type kiosks were in almost every town of any size.
Computers have almost shrunk to the point of becoming wearable instead of taking up an entire office suite. Television is in the midst of an identity crisis even as the U.S. Postal Service continues its death throes.
And Google, among others, is working very hard so that we won’t have to drive ourselves around any more. As I’ve said before, software is eating the world.
So many things have changed that you could be forgiven for wondering what this little book could possibly say that is still relevant. But the fact is that people don’t change much.
Oh, we may think they do, but the facts say different.
What makes a man or woman reach into their pocketbook to purchase something today hasn’t really changed at all.
Not in 50 years.
Not in thousands of years.
Of course, that doesn’t mean marketers large and small are always putting in their best efforts though.
It’s as easy to become dazzled and confused as ever. We all end up “watching the show when we should be checking for results”.
Oh well, it’s entertaining, at least.
Take the book by Ryan Holiday, “Trust Me, I’m Lying”.
A quick search of the Internet will pull up a lot of information on Mr. Holiday (marketer, author, consultant). And whether or not you like - or agree with - his tactics, what you come away with is the feeling that Mr. Holiday is very good at his job.
Public Relations may be the formal term used for his profession, but spin control might be closer to the truth.
He’s a master at playing the Internet in the interest of his clients. Even normally skeptical folks who don’t entirely approve of his methods, his clients, or his ethics are amazed at his skill.
Kind of like a fly professing admiration for the delicate beauty and marvelous intricacy of the spider web which caught him.
Anyway, I can certainly vouch for Ogilvy’s book and in fact, you won’t go far wrong in picking up anything he ever wrote. Word is that his books are still required reading at the best advertising agencies in the world.
And if the people trying so hard to sell you things and ideas think it’s still that important, then you might ought to take a look for yourself, don’t you think?
I did include a little book promo for you to watch. And if I do say so myself, it’s pretty cool.
In fact, it’s one of the very best trailers I’ve ever seen.
You can trust me on that. Honest. *
** first appeared on Capital Thinking, July 18, 2012