Hamilton: Study hard; keep on dancing until it rains
Apparently, the current thinking among Madison Avenue advertising executives is that age 14 is about the age when teenagers develop “brand loyalty.” Consequently, many TV commercials are designed to appeal to what the copy writers and producers imagine to be the 14-year-old mind. Whether they understand the 14-year-old mind or not remains to be seen; however, that explains why you see so many young people jerking and twerking around on your TV screen as if they have terminal Sydenham’s Chorea (AKA St. Vitus’ Dance Disease).
Unfortunately, TV commercials designed for 14-year-olds do not provide more mature viewers much in the way of product description or explain why our existence would be improved by purchasing the product depicted in the commercials. Once suspects, David Ogilvy, known as the father of modern advertising, must be rolling over in his grave.
Ogilvy, for those too young to remember, wrote the most famous print advertising copy in automotive history for Rolls Royce which read: “At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls Royce is the ticking of the electric clock.” But did David Ogilvy dream up that Ad copy while having a Madison Avenue three-martini lunch? No way. Ogilvy believed and taught that copy writers must study and learn every detail about the product being advertised. In fact, the most famous line in automotive print advertising history was discovered by Ogilvy in a technical report written by one of the Rolls Royce engineers.
Ogilvy also dug into the chemistry of Dove soap. He discovered Dove, which was languishing on store shelves, contained one-quarter cleansing cream. Ogilvy’s caption that “Dove is 1/4 cleansing cream,” made Dove the hand-soap market leader for over 30 years. For American Express credit cards, Ogilvy created, “Don’t leave home without it!” an admonition that has become embedded in the American lexicon.
Yet David Ogilvy’s greatest contribution was not to advertising, but to management philosophy. Whenever his firm, Ogilvy and Mather, opened a new branch office the new executive placed in charge found a set of those Russian Matryoshka nesting dolls on his desk. When the executive uncovered his or her way down to the smallest doll, there was this personal note from David Ogilvy: “If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.” Granted, in today’s Politically Correct environment comparing dwarfs unfavorably to giants would not find favor.
Even so, Ogilvy’s credo of detailed study and unremitting hard work brings to mind the tale of the Indian tribe that was renowned for the success of its rain dancers who were always in great demand in the drought-parched areas of the American southwest.
When asked about the secret of his tribe’s rain-making success, the Indian Chief replied, “It’s simple. We keep on dancing until it rains.” Parents of today’s 14-year-olds might be well-advised to get one of those refrigerator door magnets and post this lesson: “Success comes to those who study hard and keep on dancing until it rains.”
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Nebraska Aviation Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame, and is a recipient of the University of Nebraska 2015 Alumni Achievement Award. He was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University. For more, see: http://www.central-view.com.
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