David Ogilvy: “We Sell or Else”

Note: This post is over 4 years old. It was first published in August 2010

Here’s a wonderfully dated video of David Ogilvy giving what looks like a keynote address to a Direct Response Advertising conference (by video, which must have been breathtakingly modern back in the 1960s).

Ogilvy came from a background in research, and was an early proponent of AB testing. He had a huge amount of respect for the Direct Response Advertising industry (as opposed to what he called ‘General Advertising’ – Print, TV, etc.) – mainly for the fact that they were so focused on tracking response rates, and working towards winning ad designs. To quote:

“You Direct Response people know what kind of advertising works, and what doesn’t work. You know to a dollar. The General Advertising people don’t know. [...] The chasm between Direct Response advertising and General Advertising is wide. On your side of the chasm, I see knowledge and reality. On the other side of the chasm, I see ignorance. You are the professionals. This must not go on. I predict that the practitioners of general advertising are going to start learning from your experience.”


It’s funny that, even today, the web industry is still catching up with this philosophy of metrics-based optimisation.

Does anyone know the date and origin of this video? (Found via @yandle.)

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