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Confessions of an Advertising Man [Paperback]

David Ogilvy
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Sep 2011
A new edition of the timeless business classic featured on Mad Men as fresh and relevant now as the day it was written.

'We admire people who work hard, who are objective and thorough. We detest office politicians, toadies, bullies, and pompous asses. We abhor ruthlessness. The way up our ladder is open to everybody. In promoting people to top jobs, we are influenced as much by their character as anything else.' - David Ogilvy

David Ogilvy was considered the 'father of advertising' and a creative genius by many of the biggest global brands. First published in 1963, this seminal book revolutionised the world of advertising and became a bible for the 1960s ad generation. It also became an international bestseller, translated into 14 languages. Fizzing with Ogilvy's pioneering ideas and inspirational philosophy, it covers not only advertising, but also people management, corporate ethics, and office politics, and forms an essential blueprint for good practice in business.

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Confessions of an Advertising Man + Ogilvy on Advertising + Hegarty on Advertising: Turning Intelligence into Magic
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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Southbank Publishing (1 Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 190491537X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904915379
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,688 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Mackenzie Ogilvy was born on June 23, 1911 at West Horsley, Surrey in England. He was a notable advertising executive. He has often been called "The Father of Advertising." In 1962, Time called him "the most sought-after wizard in today's advertising industry." He was known for a career of expanding the bounds of both creativity and morality in advertising.
David Ogilvy died on July 21, 1999 at his home, the Chateau de Touffou, in Bonnes, France. Ogilvy remains one of the most famous names in advertising and is considered one of its dominant thinkers, among (Raymond Rubicam, Leo Burnett, William Bernbach, and Rosser Reeves), who shaped the business after the 1920s.

Product Description


'Ogilvy is the creative force of modern advertising.' -- New York Times

'His books, notably the million-selling Confessions of an Advertising Man, are still fresh - full of pithy points about not only advertising but also business.' -- London Evening Standard

'Prescriptive guide to the art of good advertising by the old king of Madison Avenue' -- Independent

'Today's generation of advertisers find much to agree with in his seminal memoir, Confessions of an Advertising Man. Indeed, many agencies - and not just his - still trade off the principles he established.' -- --Telegraph

'Required reading for anyone in business.' -- Media Week

'I would like to make it mandatory that everyone in advertising read David Ogilvy's first book, Confessions of an Advertising Man at least once a year.'George Parker in Business Insider

'It's a classic...I tell my students if you're going to read a book about advertising, start with that one.' -- --Investor's Business Daily

The fact that the principles of this book are still so very relevant to today's marketer is simply amazing. The world's greatest ad man provides eternal wisdom for all marketers. This could be my all time favorite business book. --Marketo's 10 Essential Reads

About the Author

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 the Ogilvy concepts, tactics, and techniques that made this international best seller a blueprint for sound business practice. If you aspire to be a good manager in any business, this seminal work is a must read.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read and a classic 23 Mar 2008
By Matthew Leitch VINE VOICE
This book is another by David Ogilvy that was a pleasure to read from cover to cover. It's great fun, wittily written, and full of good points. The advertisements are, of course, rather different from those we are used to seeing today, but the thinking and approach are as relevant as ever.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still inspirational after all those years 18 Feb 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In my opinion Ogilvy managed to write a classic with this one. The book is a good combination of advice about an advertising agency, running a professional services firm, the advertising business overall, as well as a really entertaining read.

In terms of the content, some of it has dated (the limited insight on TV advertising, for instance), but most is as fresh and relevant as ever. Everything from how to motivate people in a high intensity, creative and competitive work environment, to some basic tennets of how advertising works (and how it does not) still makes a very useful, and relatively timeless read.

The shameless self promotion and the colour of the author himself, which come through quite starkly are perhaps a throwback to the 60s, when the book was first written but they are all the more refreshing and entertaining for that. If you are looking for a good quick guide on some basics of running a professional service firm, and do not quite have the stomach for something like Managing the Professional Service Firm (which I very highly recommend), this is quite a good place to start.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The big idea is still brilliant 16 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Who could not love a book that starts: “As a child I lived in Lewis Carroll’s house in Guildford. My father, whom I adored, was a Gaelic-speaking Highlander, a classical scholar and a bigoted agnostic. One day he discovered that I had started going to church secretly.

“My dear old son, how can you swallow that mumbo-jumbo? It is all very well for servants but not for educated people. You don’t have to be a Christian to behave like a gentleman!

“My mother was a beautiful and eccentric Irishwoman. She disinherited me on the ground that I was likely to acquire more money than was good for me without any help from her. I could not disagree.”

Written more than 50 years ago, David Ogilvy’s Confessions of an Advertising Man has two strengths. First, it tells you how to be successful in business. Second, he shows how great brands are created by selling the big idea to as many people as possible.

In 1988 Ogilvy added a preface to explain why he wrote the book. First, to attract new clients to his advertising agency. Second, to help sell shares in his company. Third, to make himself better known in the business world. It achieved all three.

He also had to make three corrections as the world had changed from 1962 when the book was written. The world has changed even more since 1988 but Ogilvy’s ideas are still fresh and still easy to use.

He opens with a chapter on how to manage an advertising agency that can be used for any business. While Ogilvy came from a privileged background, he failed at university and had to work his way as a salesman, as a market researcher and as a chef at the Hotel Majestic in Paris.

“There were 37 chefs in our brigade. We worked like dervishes 63 hours a week.
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still feels fresh 5 Oct 2011
I read a well thumbed second hand copy of this book twenty years ago. At the time, even though it had been around for ages, much of the wisdom contained within its pages was up to date and relevant to advertising in the early nineties.

For reasons I can't remember, I took a copy of this book on holiday this year, and read it in a day. I couldn't believe how something written so long ago still held true in the age of internet and iPhones. A must buy, me thinks.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An agency bible 14 Oct 2011
This is one of the best books I've read about running an agency. Whether you're an ad agency, marketing agency, PR or digital agency the principles in this book will help you run your business better. The fact the examples Ogilvy refers to are years old doesn't make it any less relevant. If you work in a creative agency and want to understand how the grand masters work - this book is for you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant seller&book 7 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Item came before the estimated delivery which I was very pleased about. The book has already got me interested in it and I've only just started to read for my dissertation! Definitely recommend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars simply brilliant 29 Dec 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
not much more I can add to the other reviewers words, this is a brilliant book for those people who love Ogilvy and the amazing work he did
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic 23 Feb 2011
An absolute classic! Definitely worth a read and so entertaining after all these years. I would though advice on getting it from another publisher as the southbank publishing version is full of typos which would make David Ogilvy turn in his grave.

A good example Pg 115 - 'Very few marketeers know how to milk dying brands. It is like playing a misere hand in whisht.'

No, it didnt make any sense to me either.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read
A classic business book for anyone even if you don't work in advertising, which I don't

We are all selling something.....l
Published 5 months ago by Adam Krug
5.0 out of 5 stars STUNNING
its a brilliant compilation of his experience not just as an ad man but just in generally and his approach on the world how he saw it. GOOD READ .. Read more
Published 20 months ago by M. Straaw
4.0 out of 5 stars Confessions of an Advertising Man
Confessions of an Advertising Man (Purchased on 09/05/2011)
by David Ogilvy

I'm not ready reading the book, but its very interesting to read about this man. Read more
Published on 9 Oct 2011 by Matti
5.0 out of 5 stars unputdownable
Brilliant read really interesting, when i first started reading it it contained loads of stuff i wasn't sure i wanted to read, but i started to really get into learning about how... Read more
Published on 30 Aug 2011 by s
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This is a mind blowing book, I wanted to buy this book in the year 2004 when I couldn't afford it but I recently purchased it a month ago (July 2011) and read this book which is... Read more
Published on 14 Aug 2011 by Glen
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as Mad as expected ....
The book was good and very interesting and fairly easy to get through. Not sure what I expected, but this wasn't it. Not sure I'd recommend this to anyone I know! Read more
Published on 17 May 2011 by Zarafa
3.0 out of 5 stars Mad man
.. as Roger Sterling said, this should be called a thousand reasons why i'm brilliant. Quite entertaining but very dated .. Read more
Published on 15 Jan 2011 by Bettylou
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