David Ogilvy On Social Media “Totally Baffled” Says Biographer – published 2009

 In advertising

I came across an excellent post from Jason Falls about a discussion he had with David Ogilvy’s biographer, Kenneth Roman.

I recently read and reviewed Kenneth’s excellent book, and suggested that as David was a strong fan of DM, he might have liked mobile as a medium for advertising.  Well I was partly right, and Jason was fortunate enough to get some time with Kenneth to ask him what David would have thought of social media.

From the post, we learn from Kenneth that David Ogilvy didn’t really get new technology.

 “Ogilvy refused to talk about, ‘new media,” Roman said. “He simply didn’t understand technology in any form. But he did understand basic principles of how to communicate clearly, the importance of having the right message, and measuring the result with research.”

So I think he would still have warmed to a new medium with “the right message, and measuring the result with research.”

Jason’s post also reinforces the Ogilvy credo that advertising must sell – something that people lose sight of when technology gets in the way and we get (over) excited about the latest new [insert new technology here].

Jason’s post also looks at how close advertising today is running against Ogilvy’s tenants.

Quoting from the post

“Roman says today’s advertising is closer to that Ogilvy ideal. My assumption is that might be partially as a result of the advent of social media. He said, “I am confident virtually all advertising today, in whatever media, is truthful and responsible. Whether it shows respect for the consumer does, of course, vary from advertiser to advertiser.”

As far as the future of advertising, Roman isn’t worried but knows social media is a big part of it.

“Advertising has always changed, and will continue to do so,” he said. “That is, the techniques have changed — not necessarily the fundamentals. Social marketing is a wonderful new medium that is effective in reaching a changing audience.”

I’d recommend you read Jason’s post, Kenneth’s book and contrast it with my post “David Ogilvy on mobile advertising – what would he have thought?“.

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Futurist Keynote Speaker and former IBM Global Managing Partner, Andrew is a popular and sought-after presenter and commentator on issues around digital disruption and emerging technologies. He is a multiple TEDx & International Keynote Speaker. Watch his speaking showreel here, enquire about availability & fees here.