Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Confessions of an Advertising Man” as Want to Read:
Confessions of an Advertising Man
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Confessions of an Advertising Man

by
4.07  ·  Rating details ·  2,827 Ratings  ·  222 Reviews
David Ogilvy was an advertising genius. At the age of 37, he founded the New York-based agency that later merged to form the international company known as Ogilvy & Mather. Regarded as the father of modern advertising, Ogilvy was responsible for some of the most memorable advertising campaigns ever created. Confessions of an Advertising Man is the distillation of all t ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published August 1st 2004 by Southbank Publishing (first published 1963)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Jan-Maat
Aug 29, 2011 added it
Recommends it for: Anybody who contrasts out part of their business operation
This is one long, but entertaining, advert for Ogilvy's ad agency that's driven forward by a fantastic mixture of short paragraphs (many with just two sentences) and anecdotes. The first time reading it, I didn't really realise quite how relentless this effect was, until I found myself turning the last page.

Of course the business of keeping paragraphs short is one of the many pieces of advice that he gives in the book.

Ogilvy tells you how he runs his agency, how he gets his clients, how he creat
...more
Marc
Jul 21, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: New to Advertising, Interested in Advertising, Copywriters
Having always been fascinated by advertising, this book was on my list of must buy. A quick browse at Amazon.com, and I knew I just must have it. So why not more than 3 stars?

This was a book from a genius in the advertising field. The topics, or tips, or whatever you want to call them, were supposed to be, in my opinion, ageless. Some are. How to be the leading man in an agency, how to behave with clients to get accounts (sometimes), etc... Yet, a lot is typical to the time of writing, and not s
...more
Rick
Nov 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
I wish I had read this book ten years ago. Ha.

Much of it is as spot-on now as it was then. I love the prologue from the 80's where he makes two small corrections to the book, as if everything else is totally un-changed. I wish David Ogilvy had lived in the internet times. I would love to know what the thought about things.

If you're in advertising, read this book. Balance it out with a book about Bill Bernbach. Ignore some of his cantankerous commentary about selling and blocked out type if you
...more
F.R.
May 16, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Mad Men this ain’t.

A vainglorious book which glides through all the successes of David Ogilvy’s career (until this book’s 1963 publication) and shows the wonderful lessons there are to be learned. Inevitably dated and not only because advertising has moved on, few people these days write business books assuming an all male audience and at points getting the readers to ponder what their wives may think.

The truly frustrating thing is that there is an interesting story buried here, how did a Brit w
...more
KnownAsLavinia
Extremely well written, Ogilvy was truly a remarkable creature. He was also, probably, a prick and a megalomaniac. Some things written in this book are outdated but I would still advise anybody that wants to start a career in advertising to read it.
Rebecca
Jul 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book is fascinating on many levels. First, that parts of it are even still relevant today as it laments about the lack of research on this crazy new medium called 'television' and warns against food commercials because they look so unappealing in black and white. Second, that Ogilvy makes advertising look like a noble profession, and as the way he practiced it, it was noble indeed. He did not believe in hawking products that he didn't believe in. He did not think of the 'consumer' as some r ...more
Alan Kercinik
Jun 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Full disclosure: I work at Ogilvy. Be that as it may, this is a book well worth reading, if only because so much of it is relevant today, if you know where to look.

This is a man who was so out in front of authenticity, story-mining and storytelling, it's not even funny. Read his Rolls Royce ad to find out how to mine for content hooks. Look at his Hathaway shirt ads to find out how to create a character that could be a brand's social voice. And read his stories about counseling clients to find o
...more
Charlotte
Mar 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-recommend
David Ogilvy is, of course, a classic and a class act. Since advertising is my field, I took some practical pointers from this book, and also heard some of my own instincts confirmed (you have to love your clients like family, buy their products, etc.). But I think someone not in the industry would get something out of this as well. He was 'the man' during the great generation of ad men, which was an exciting and iconic time in our American culture.
SeyedMahdi Hosseini
اگیلوی در این کتاب نکات علمی و دانشگاهی به صورت ساده و مختصر در حد پاراگرافهایی داستان وار نقل می کنه . البته برخی از این موارد مربوط به فرهنگ آمریکایی میشه و شاید به درد ما نخوره ولی حتما ارزش مطالعه داره
Andy
Sep 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
The Donald Trump of advertising, both in success and ego.
Serge Stefoglo
Apr 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Incredible read with insight into the mind of a marketer that is relevant even today. If you do any kind of marketing, you are going to want to get this book.
Sean Goh
Dec 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A candid, down to earth how-to-do quality business with integrity and honesty.

Quotes:
It was inspiring to work under a supreme master.

Today I praise my staff as rarely as Picard praised his chefs, in the hope that they too will appreciate it more than a steady gush of appreciation.

In the best establishments, promises are always kept, whatever it may cost in agony and overtime.

But brains are not enough unless they are combined with intellectual honesty.

Ten minutes after crossing a potential hire's
...more
John Lamb
Nov 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Charming from a 1950s perspective; quaint by today's standards.
Omar Halabieh
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I recently finished reading Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy.

Below are key excerpts from the book that I found to be particularly insightful:

Today, the world of advertising faces four problems of crisis dimensions. The first problem is that manufacturers of package-goods products, which have always been the mainstay of advertising, are spending twice as much on price-off deals as on advertising...The second problem is that advertising agencies, notably in Britain, France, and t
...more
Peter Tieryas
Nov 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"This is more like an Art of War of marketing which you read in segments. Only, the philosophy is more genteel and pacific than Sun Tzu’s epic. I took it in small doses, like a thousand commercials compacted into one book." Full review at my blog.

http://tieryas.wordpress.com/2013/11/...

_____
First update I wrote about halfway through the book:

Great book, not just about marketing, but a modern philosophy to life. Some favorite quotes are:

“When Fortune published an article about me and titled it: “
...more
Satyam Sai
Feb 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
The reason I’ve always been interested in advertising despite the silly consumerist culture it so strongly promotes, is because I find an amusement in the way the lies are told, a method in which truth is fabricated and an immensely satisfying pleasure in the art that is created.

As of learning, there can be two options before you:
One – observe the advertisements around you. (It's abundant to the point of nausea!)
Two – Read this book.
Not exactly equivalent choices but if you are a true Tarantin
...more
Simone Bocedi
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
OH MY. where to start?

1- I have never, ever, underlined so much in one single book, not even during my school time. If you work in advertising there is so much good stuff in here that it should be a must-read for any new employee of any ad agency (or marketing position inside a company). He gives so many advices and quotes and one-liners that are still very much valid today. 

2- if you're into Mad Men, THIS IS IT: David Ogilvy was a Madison Avenue ad man in the 50s and 60s, among drunken lunches,
...more
Anita Atherton
Jan 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
Never before have I so wanted to throw a book across the room whilst reading it. For someone who claims to love simplicity of language or things simply put, at one stage I thought he was actually making words up. But as a self anointed genius - why wouldn't he be? Emoluments? Odium? Pettifoggers? Suzerainty? Wanker.
I know it was 1962, but apart from a couple of little gems within, the work of this outdated, egotistical, misogynist sociopath needs to be locked in a time capsule and shot into oute
...more
Spencer
Oct 03, 2007 rated it liked it
I want to love this, because I'm supposed to, but it's really starting to get a little dated. There are a few essential guidelines here about being an honest, forthright businessperson, but the culture of the consumer has changed so radically in the 50 years since this book was published that the rest of it is sometimes hard to find an application for. Still, Ogilvy's personality makes it a fun read, and it will always be essential reading if you're in the advertising business.
Ryan Chapman
Aug 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
When my coworkers saw this on my desk, two of them separately noted surprise I hadn't already read it.

It's certainly insightful, and a nice (accidental) companion piece to my current Mad Men adoration. While the tone is just a little too self-congratulatory, Ogilvy fills his text to the brim with the sort of anecdotes and lists of rules you'd want in such a book. Highly recommended for anyone in love with/critical of American capitalism!
Phil
Mar 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Even today (in 2012), this insight is brilliantly accurate:

"I have never wanted to get an account so big that I could not afford to lose it. The day you do that, you commit yourself to living with fear. Frightened agencies lose the courage to give candid advice; once you lose that, you become a lackey."

In my software/web startup experience over the last 12 years, this is absolutely true. Putting yourself and your company in this position will result in inevitable failure.
Paul Bard
Feb 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The perfect blend of style, experience, and research, this book presents the essential qualities of advertising, both the personal, practical, and formal.

But it a book to be discussed, not chewed privately. The tone is conversational and the insights have little regard for theory or numbered steps or formulas for success in the field; they must be run through verbally.

The author's candor and stolid excellence as a writer more than qualify him as a master of his field.
Monica
Sep 27, 2011 rated it did not like it
Creative genius or not, David Ogilvy was a bit too pompous for my taste. Add to that overt misogynistic comments and outdated rules for creating advertising, and this book took me straight to Yawnsville. Although, I did really enjoy the bit about not treating your consumer like a moron. That still makes perfect sense.
Themistocles
Dec 04, 2009 rated it liked it
Certainly interesting, oftentimes intriguing, especially for marketeers.

But, many of the tissues and practices that Ogilvy broaches are outdated, and hence the significance of the book lies in its historical context. Also, Ogilvy himself more often than not come through as a snotty and snob individual, which kind of diminishes the enjoyment of the book.
Josh
May 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: advertising, business
Not as applicable as it was, say, 50 years ago, but there are some quality nuggets of advice lurking within these pages. Well worth the read, if but from a historical perspective.
Ryan Glass
Oct 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Probably the best book I've read in years. Took it with me across Europe and couldn't put it down. I took several pages of notes just on the first chapter.
Daniel Taylor
Mar 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Entrepreneurs, marketers, copywriters
Recommended to Daniel by: Dan Kennedy
Advertising and marketing would be a very different beast if copywriters and ad agencies followed the principles in this book. It's a masterwork for a reason. Read it. Do it. Sell more.
Alejandro Sanoja
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Written in 1963 and still providing value!

The principles and fundamentals that Ogilvy shares in this book will allow you to create value in any area of your career.

It is a MUST for anyone in Marketing and a should for anyone in business. The "How to Write Potent Copy" chapter should be read by anyone that wants to be able to communicate efficiently and effectively.

We are always sendings emails, text messages, making social media posts, etc. Nowadays, we are always competing for attention and u
...more
Ramon
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books on advertising I have ever read. After years of studying copywriting, I enjoyed all the references to Claude Hopkins. So it's a wonderful confirmation that David Ogilvy agrees with the late Gary Halbert. Every chapter in this book is filled with useful and practical lessons in business, advertising and salesmanship. I recommend this to anyone who wants to improve their marketing and the sales results instead of winning awards.
Joshua Fraser
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
#1 book that must be re-read in 2016.

The overall language and work ethic in the book should carry over into Data Nerds.

Notes

When people aren’t having any fun, they seldom produce good work.
People are more productive when they drink. I find if I drink two or three candies, I am better able to write.
Leaders are grasp nettles; don’t keep a dog and bark yourself; hire people who are better than you are; You can’t save souls in an empty church…
clients don’t appreciate agencies which leak their secre
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Tested Advertising Methods
  • Truth, Lies, and Advertising: The Art of Account Planning
  • Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Ads
  • The Art of Writing Advertising: Conversations with Masters of the Craft: David Ogilvy, William Bernbach, Leo Burnett, Rosser Reeves,
  • Cutting Edge Advertising: How to Create the World's Best for Brands in the 21st Century
  • My Life in Advertising and Scientific Advertising
  • From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor
  • Advertising Secrets of the Written Word: The Ultimate Resource on How to Write Powerful Advertising Copy from One of America's Top Copywriters and Mail Order Entrepreneurs
  • Creative Advertising: Ideas and Techniques from the World's Best Campaigns
  • Hegarty on Advertising
  • Breakthrough Advertising
  • The Idea Writers: Copywriting in a New Media and Marketing Era
  • Bill Bernbach's Book: A History of Advertising That Changed the History of Advertising
  • Hoopla
  • Advertising: Concept and Copy
  • A Big Life In Advertising
  • The Advertising Concept Book
  • The King of Madison Avenue: David Ogilvy and the Making of Modern Advertising
116 followers
David Mackenzie Ogilvy was born in West Horsley, England, on June 23, 1911. He was educated at Fettes College in Edinburgh and at Christ Church, Oxford (although he didn't graduate).
david ogilvy After Oxford, Ogilvy went to Paris, where he worked in the kitchen of the Hotel Majestic. He learned discipline, management - and when to move on: "If I stayed at the Majestic I would have faced years of s
...more
More about David Ogilvy

Nonfiction Deals

  • A Guide to the Present Moment
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Hunting Eichmann: How a Band of Survivors and a Young Spy Agency Chased Down the World's Most Notorious Nazi
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Breaks of the Game
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You
    $9.99 $1.99
  • How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Dry
    $9.99 $3.99
  • Animal Liberation: The Definitive Classic of the Animal Movement
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Measure of a Man
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions
    $13.99 $2.99
  • 100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity
    $13.99 $2.99
  • Best Friends: The True Story of the World's Most Beloved Animal Sanctuary
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Let. It. Go.: How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis
    $9.24 $1.99
  • The Earth Shall Weep: A History of Native America
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey
    $17.48 $1.99
  • The Story of Sushi: An Unlikely Saga of Raw Fish and Rice
    $12.49 $1.99
  • The Noticer Returns: Sometimes You Find Perspective, and Sometimes Perspective Finds You
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Scar Tissue
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Running with Scissors
    $9.99 $3.99
  • The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics
    $9.99 $2.99
  • 1968: The Year That Rocked the World
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love and Manic Depression
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between)
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Warrior Elite: The Forging of SEAL Class 228
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes
    $9.99 $2.99
  • And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Vegetable Butcher: How to Select, Prep, Slice, Dice, and Masterfully Cook Vegetables from Artichokes to Zucchini
    $22.95 $1.99
  • Facing Your Giants: The God Who Made a Miracle Out of David Stands Ready to Make One Out of You
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin...Every Inch of It
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Egg and I
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More
    $12.74 $1.99
  • City of Fortune: How Venice Ruled the Seas
    $14.99 $2.99
  • Just Another Kid
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Second World War
    $12.99 $3.99
  • Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids
    $11.24 $1.99
  • Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8: A Young Man's Voice from the Silence of Autism
    $13.99 $1.99
  • I Am Not Myself These Days (P.S.)
    $13.24 $1.99
  • In the Beginning...Was the Command Line
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Toltec Art of Life and Death
    $11.49 $1.99
  • Put Your Dream to the Test: 10 Questions to Help You See It and Seize It
    $9.49 $2.99
  • The Diva Rules: Ditch the Drama, Find Your Strength, and Sparkle Your Way to the Top
    $17.99 $2.99
  • A Brief History of Time
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone--Especially Ourselves
    $9.99 $1.99
  • All My Road Before Me: The Diary of C. S. Lewis, 1922-1927
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Penguin Lessons
    $12.99 $1.99
  • What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School: Notes from a Street-smart Executive
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
    $10.99 $2.99
  • Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001-2011
    $12.99 $2.99
  • What We Talk About When We Talk About God
    $11.49 $2.99
  • Running with the Kenyans: Passion, Adventure, and the Secrets of the Fastest People on Earth
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Pilgrim's Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier
    $11.99 $1.99
  • No God But God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Seabiscuit: An American Legend
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local - and Helped Save an American Town
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Power Of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business
    $12.99 $2.99
  • The Loudest Voice in the Room: How Roger Ailes and Fox News Remade American Politics
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Apache Wars: The Hunt for Geronimo, the Apache Kid, and the Captive Boy Who Started theLongest War in American History
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
    $10.49 $1.99
  • Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness
    $17.99 $1.99
  • French Kids Eat Everything: How Our Family Moved to France, Cured Picky Eating, Banned Snacking, and Discovered 10 Simple Rules for Raising Happy, Healthy Eaters
    $12.49 $2.99
  • When the Game Was Ours
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Tomorrowland: Our Staggering Journey from Science Fiction to Science Fact
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Art of Power
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Through My Eyes
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley
    $13.99 $1.99
  • A Brief History of Everything
    $14.99 $2.99
  • The World's Religions, Revised and Updated (Plus)
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Leonardo's Notebooks
    $11.99 $2.99
  • An American Childhood
    $10.74 $1.99
  • Making Toast
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN
    $11.99 $2.99
“The consumer isn't a moron. She is your wife.” 44 likes
“Where people aren’t having any fun, they seldom produce good work.” 28 likes
More quotes…