What is a Good Advertisement?

There could be many answers. But I would love to pick the definition given by the advertising genius, Mr. David M. Ogilvy (1922-1999). In his book “Confessions of an Advertising Man”, written in 1963, yet I believe it still carries the relevance today, he succinctly talks about three schools of thought on what it constitutes to be a good advertisement. Let me quote from page 23:

What is a good advertisement? There are three schools of thought. The cynics hold that a good advertisement is an advertisement with a client’s OK on it. Another school accepts Raymond Rubicam’s definition, “The best identification of a great advertisement is that its public is not only strongly sold by it, but that both the public and the advertising world remember it for a long time as an admirable piece of work.” I have produced my share of advertisements which have been remembered by the advertising world as “admirable pieces of work”, but I belong to the third school, which holds that a good advertisement is one which sells the product without drawing attention to itself. It should rivet the reader’s attention on the product. Instead of saying, “What a clever advertisement,” the reader says, “I never knew that before. I must try this product.”


About 1mmarketing

Working as Associate Professor, School of Business, United International University, Bangladesh; a North-American graduate, with doctoral studies from UUM, Malaysia; cherishing a wide-view of the world, with multiple interests in culture, people, traveling, and specifically marketing science. I have a colorful and diversified background with a blend of corporate experience, research, consulting, training, public speaking and teaching. I love to write about marketing issues that affect our lives, and talk about its direction that would promote the greatest human welfare.
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One Response to What is a Good Advertisement?

  1. it’s a good one. i fully agree with the 3rd school of thoughts. thanks for sharing
    however, i use an easier method to judge ads. i look for creativity in an ad. simple!
    creativity is one of the pre-requisites of good ad. a good ad must draw attention and at the same time explain the benefits. both of these, not just any of these. therefore, the equation stands:
    A + B = C
    (attention + benefits = creativity)

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