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Ogilvy on Advertising in the Digital Age

Published Friday May 15, 2020

Author Terri Schlichenmeyer of The Bookworm Sez, LLC

“Ogilvy on Advertising in the Digital Age”
by Miles Young
2017, Bloomsbury
$29/$39 Canada
288 pages

It’s a brand-new year. So where will your ad dollars go? The tried-and-true has worked for you—is that where you’ll stay? Will you experiment, based on the advice of an ad rep or two? Or will you do your own research, read “Ogilvy on Advertising in the Digital Age” by Miles Young, and see what clicks into place?

Though David Ogilvy, founder of ad agency Ogilvy & Mather, died a few years after the internet was widely available, he left a “videotaped last testament” on the subject. Today, nearly two decades later, says Young, Ogilvy’s words still answer questions for the staff at the agency.

Young is sure that Ogilvy wouldn’t have liked the term “Digital Revolution.” To Ogilvy, the internet was “just a channel,” another method for advertising. Like him, today’s smart client knows that digital advertising is a good thing but it can’t be the only thing. Digital advertising must work hand-in-hand with other methods of ad-based communication.

Young cites research that shows some surprising things about the internet and its users. For example, he says, you can’t overgeneralize; what interests a millennial in Pittsburgh may not resonate with a millennial in Portland or Pakistan. It’s also important to remember that overall human behavior rarely changes.

Use stories; we humans love them. Know how advertising works online, get caught up on terms and lingo, create sharable content (but remove the word “viral” from your campaign), and understand various kinds of content by becoming better informed. While some of what’s inside this book could be considered intuitive, much of “Ogilvy on Advertising in the Digital Age” is on a C-Suite level that may flummox in-the-trenches folks. If you need to be confident that your ad dollars are well spent, this book will click.

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