“In the 50s & 60s, cars were fashion statements, testosterone boosters, muscles on wheels.”
The Volkswagen Beetle was a small, slow, ugly, foreign car that the folks at DDB turned into an iconic piece of American pride. Keep in mind, this wasn’t just any foreign car either. This was a post-WWII German car, “the people’s car,” a Nazi car whose development was tied to Adolf Hitler himself. If you asked me to sell this vehicle to a country still bitter about a war that threatened their most core ideals, I would’ve thought you were nuts. How in the world did they pull it off?
The answer is mind-bogglingly amazing from a marketing perspective: they were honest, boldly so. To see what I mean, consider the copy in the ad below:
“We presented a company that was willing to work for you.
It was sort of like tacking up the manifesto on the door.” — Paula Green
“Big ideas come from the unconscious. This is true in art, in science, and in advertising. But your unconscious has to be well informed, or your idea will be irrelevant. Stuff your conscious mind with information, then unhook your rational thought process. You can help this process by going for a long walk, or taking a hot bath, or drinking half a pint of claret. Suddenly, if the telephone line from your unconscious is open, a big idea wells up within you.”
“You can do homework from now until doomsday, but you will never win fame and fortune unless you also invent big ideas. It takes a big idea to attract the attention of consumers and get them to buy your product. Unless your advertising contains a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night.”
The big idea, as Ogilvy defined, involves creating something big about the brand that would appeal to a mass audience. A big idea is one that makes your prospect gasp when she first sees it. A big idea is unique. A big idea is one that can be used for 20-30 years. If your copywriting or marketing is missing the big idea, it won’t go anywhere till you find one. So, go hunting for your big idea!
“If you have all the research, all the ground rules, all the directives, all the data — it doesn’t mean the ad is written. Then you’ve got to close the door and write something — that is the moment of truth which we all try to postpone as long as possible.”
“If you’re trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think. We try to write in the vernacular.”
“Do not … address your readers as though they were gathered together in a stadium. When people read your copy, they are alone. Pretend you are writing to each of them a letter on behalf of your client.”
“There isn’t any significant difference between the various brands of whiskey, or cigarettes or beer. They are all about the same. And so are the cake mixes and the detergents, and the margarines… The manufacturer who dedicates his advertising to building the most sharply defined personality for his brand will get the largest share of the market at the highest profit.”
“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
“Never use tricky or irrelevant headlines… People read too fast to figure out what you are trying to say.”
“Don’t bunt. Aim out of the ball park. Aim for the company of immortals.”