Time Magazine called him "the most sought-after wizard in today's advertising industry" in 1962.
And looking back on his career as an advertising executive, he's worked for some pretty legendary customers: Schwepps, Rolls Royce, and the Man in the Hathaway Shirt.
So let's have a laugh at some of his most famous quotes—and apply them to your business while we're at it.
“Never write an advertisement which you wouldn’t want your family to read. You wouldn’t tell lies to your own wife. Don’t tell them to mine.”
Meaning: It's easy to get carried away with product descriptions or services provided, but it's always important to remember you should never give incorrect information to customers.
If you say this skylight can open and close with a touch of a button, it better do just that. Or if you announce a slash in price to win a job but don't honor it—it's just as bad.
"The more informative your advertising, the more persuasive it will be."
Meaning: Before buying or requesting your services, people come prepared with questions. A lot of them.
And if you were in their shoes, would you rather buy from someone who was forthcoming with all the information or someone who beat around the bush?
I already know the answer.
"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."
Meaning: You wouldn't hold a normal conversation like this with a customer, would you:
"The location of a mass at the aortic bifurcation could be the 'infamous' extra-adrenal pheochromocytoma of the obscure organ of Zuckerkandl, which explains hypertension with excess catecholamine release, but not the other features of Cushing syndrome."
Not every customer is going to understand construction language: such as curb-mounted or roof pitch. And nothing kills a deal faster than making your customer feel unintelligent.
Speak to them conversationally. Allow them to feel educated and smart about the process.
“The consumer isn’t a moron; she is your wife. You insult her intelligence if you assume that a mere slogan and a few vapid adjectives will persuade her to buy anything. She wants all the information you can give her.”
Meaning: It's important to always give your customers information in a clear—but, it's also just important that you give your customers all the information.
Don't just flash slogans out them and expect them to install a skylight or add a new bonus room when you don't tell them the facts.
“Don't bunt. Aim out of the ball park. Aim for the company of immortals."
Meaning: Never settle.
With David Oglivy's words of wisdom fresh in your mind, what's your plan? Talk to us in the comment section below about how you approach conversations and marketing with your customers.