What Would David Ogilvy Say?

According to a recent article in Ad Exchanger, the day of the 30- and 60-second TV commercial is descending into twilight, giving way to a new dawn of 6- and 8-second clips that TV watchers will be less inclined to dismiss. Here’s the link:


Those of us who are veterans of the ad wars may recall David Ogilvy’s view that copy is king and that long copy is better than short copy. His reasoning was simple enough: When a consumer is interested in what you are selling, she can’t find out enough about your offering. Short copy is actually a disservice and leaves her unfulfilled.

Can this not be just as true for TV commercials? The problem is not that people do not like “putting up with” distracting commercials, the problem is those commercials are trying to sell things in which viewers are simply not interested.

I’m a big fan of high-performance automobiles. I would much rather watch a 60-second spot about a hot new road demon than a 6-second nano-commercial.

I think advertising’s problem these days is laziness. Media planners have placed far too much reliance on programmatic and algorithm-based buying models and no longer seem to care about carefully matching offerings to audiences.

Who’s watching what should be the watchword. Audiences are no longer “mass,” if indeed they ever were. The sanctified 18-to-49 demographic needs to die. It is simply not relevant anymore, if it ever was. Behavioral targeting is a much more effective way to parse audiences. But it requires more work. Segmenting an audience by its values yields greater interest. It also requires more work.

I think the planners need to get off their asses and start working for a living.

About mediainmind

Education: BFA in Painting & Sculpture from California College of the Arts (Oakland); Executive MBA in Executive Management from the Peter F. Drucker & Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management at the Claremont Graduate University (Claremont); MA and PhD in Media Psychology from the Fielding Graduate University (Santa Barbara). Experience: Over 40 years experience in marketing, advertising, and public relations on the client and agency sides of the business; for-profit and nonprofit, as well as government. Special Expertise: The interface between human behavior and the media. It's all about "media in mind." View all posts by mediainmind

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