David Ogilvy perfected some of the most eye-catching and viscerally captivating print ads over the years. Much of his approach was quite simple, but it keyed in to target audiences to ensure that products were connecting with the proper consumers. One of his great contributions was in setting up an advertising template that could be universally applicable, and was able to make the strongest impact in the shortest amount of time.
The basic layout for this style of advertising consisted of the following:
• Lead with a visual – this occupies about a third of the space, and sets the tone for both the product and the audience.
• Photo captions – placed immediately below the visual, it offers a clear description of the scene taking place.
• Headline – this is the most important part of the advertisement. The majority of people will only ever read the headline, and this content should provide impactful and thought provoking messages that will be retained by the reader.
• Ad copy – while this is the body of the advertisement that can cover details, important statistics and further selling points, it should still lead in with a hook that refers to the powerful headline.
• Signature – The signature will include any contact information for the business, including addresses, websites, and other pertinent seller identifiers. This is generally kept small so that the promotion is highly generated through a sleeper effect.
Although this format is widely considered a major contribution to effective advertising, Ogilvy was also known for his ability to key in on the impact that a headline can make. Even without the accompanying body or visuals, the following are some of the best known Ogilvy headlines, and demonstrate their ability to stand alone.
1. “The Man in the Hathaway Shirt.”
3. “At 60 Miles An Hour The Loudest Noise In This New Rolls-Royce Comes From The Electric Clock.”
4. “Don’t Leave Home Without It.”
5. “Highly Flexible And Resilient.”