Tag-Archive for » Content Writing «

Monday, October 12th, 2009 | Author:


Want to share this person’s thoughts, which I agree mostly.

I wish I could be with you today, in the flesh as they say. Unfortunately, I’m in India. Ever been in India? It’s very hot. If you don’t mind, I’m going to take off my coat.

You know, in the advertising community today, there are two worlds — your world of direct response advertising, and that other world, the world of general advertising.

These two worlds are on a collision course. You direct response people know what kind of advertising works and what doesn’t work. You know it to a dollar. The general advertising people don’t know.

You know that too many commercials on television are more effective — more cost effective — than 10 second commercials or 30 second commercials. You know that fringe time on television sells more than prime time. In print advertising, you know that long copy sells more than short copy. You know, that headlines and copy about the product and its benefits sell more than cute headlines and poetic copy. You know it to a dollar.

The general advertisers and their agencies know almost nothing for sure because they cannot measure the results of their advertising. They worship at the alter of creativity, which really means originality, the most dangerous word in the lexicon of advertising. They opine that 30-second commercials are more cost effective than two-minute commercials. You know they’re wrong.  In print advertising, they opine that short commercials (whoever prepared the teleprompter presentation goofed, obviously he meant ads) sell more than long copy. You know they’re wrong. They indulge in entertainment. You know they’re wrong. You know to a dollar. They don’t.

Why don’t you tell them?

Why don’t you save them from their follies?

For two reasons:

First, because you are impressed by the fact they are so big and so well paid and so well publicized. You are even, perhaps, impressed by their reputation for creativity, whatever that may mean. Second, you never meet them. You inhabit a different world. The chasm between direct response advertising and general advertising is wide.

On your side of the chasm, I see knowledge and reality. On the other side of the chasm, I see ignorance. You are the professionals. This must not go on. I predict that the practitioners of general advertising are going to start learning from your experience. They’re going to start picking your brains. I see no reason why the direct response divisions of agencies should be separate from the main agencies. Some of you may remember when television agencies were kept separate. Wasn’t that idiotic? I expect to see the direct response people become an integral part of all agencies. You have more to teach them than they have to teach you. You have it in your power to rescue the advertising business from its manifold lunacies.

When I was 25, I took a correspondence course in direct mail. I bought it out my own pocket from the Dardanelle Corporation in Chicago. Direct response is my first love, and later it became my secret weapon. When I started a Ogilvy & Mather in New York, nobody had heard of us, but we were airborne within six months and grew at record speed. How did we achieve that? By using my secret weapon, direct mail.

Every four weeks, I sent personalized mailings to our new business prospects, and I was always amazed to discover how many of our clients had been attracted to Ogilvy & Mather by those mailings. That was how we grew.

Whenever I look at an advertisement in a magazine or newspaper, I can tell at a glance whether the writer has had any direct response experience. If he writes short copy or literary copy, it is obvious that he has never had the discipline to write direct response. If he has had that discipline, he wouldn’t make those mistakes. Nobody should be allowed to create general advertising until he has severed his apprenticeship in direct response. That experience will keep his feet on the ground for the rest of his life.

You know the trouble with many copywriters and general agencies is that they don’t really think in terms of selling. They’ve never written direct response, they’ve never tasted blood. Until recently, direct response was the “Cinderella” of the advertising world. Then came the computer and the credit card, and direct marketing exploded. You guys are coming into your own. Your opportunities are colossal. In the audience today, there are heads of some general agencies. I offer you this advice; insist that all your people, creative, media, account executives, that they’re all trained in your direct response division. If you don’t have such a division, make arrangements with a firm of directing marketing specialist to train your people. And make it a rule in your agency that no copy is ever presented to clients before it has been vetted by a direct response expert.

Ladies and gentlemen, I envy you. Your timing is perfect. You’ve come in the direct response business at the right moment in history. You’re on to a good thing.

For 40 years, I’ve been a voice crying in the wilderness, trying to get my fellow advertising practitioners to take direct response seriously. Today, my first love is coming into its own. You face a golden future.

David Ogilvy’s interview

Sunday, February 08th, 2009 | Author:

After launching the Blogging Contest, it was not possible for me to duck out of it, especially after making fun of “big boss” and how he will not be able to write the blog on time, etc. I knew it would be a disaster to not submit a blog at all. This was evident immediately after I missed the first milestone of submitting the blog… he already started taunting me. Old married couples do that sometimes; I mean taunting. Don’t get any ideas! All I mean is that he is old and he has been married long enough to pick up some bad habits from the institution. (Must be some Nerd who coined the phrase ‘marriage is an institution’… Nerds hate institutions!).

Now, the real question was about writing…

So far, whatever contribution I have made to Veranda or the Veda Blog, I was never under pressure to perform i.e. to think about a topic and write. This was my first time (I am talking about writing). So, just before the last date of submitting the topic I selected a topic i.e. ‘My Friends and Me’ or ‘Me and My Friends.’ I don’t even remember what the topic was. I thought I would write about our college days and bring in some angle of social networking, etc. Phhhsss!… that didn’t work at all! When I actually started writing, I could not go beyond one paragraph. Not that my school or college days were uneventful, but I am not very proud of anything meaningful that happened 🙂 You know what I mean… Eh? (I know what you are thinking… you are Bad!).

Kudos to the content team! I wonder how they do it everyday; take a topic and just write about it. Another question that I always had about the content team was, why is it that girls are more successful content writers than boys?  After much thinking I was able to put 2 + 2 together and the answer was obviously 5. The content team mostly has girls and any married MAN will agree that girls are good at cooking… or to make it more clear… in “cooking up.” I mean I hardly remember any incident that my wife is very confident took place in our first few years of marriage. So, obviously some cooking of stories is taking place.

Anyway! I was not able to write on the topic I selected. So I am back to square one and now I don’t have a blog or a topic.

On a philosophical note, the need to perform is created by oneself, isn’t it? If I stop thinking about what others will think, pressure goes away and after that everything you do, every decision you make is made with a clear mind. No pressure!

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009 | Author:

Looking at the enormous response to the Veranda Blog, a brilliant idea occurred to me. (All my ideas are brilliant ideas until proven otherwise!). It was almost like a Eureka moment! Just that I was not in a bath tub and I didn’t shout Eureka! Eureka!

What is the IDEA?
The idea is to have a blogging contest for everyone in the content team and anyone who wants to participate from the Tech team, SEO team and other supposedly useful people in the organization like PMs, Management team, etc… In short, anyone can participate.

What will you write about?
You can write about anything that you are passionate about, but you will have to get the topic approved by the judges. This is to ensure two things 1) there is no repetition of topic 2) We have an even enough criterion to judge. You might argue that it is almost like what Henry Ford once said – “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black. “ Well, there cannot be any argument about this because.. I am the one who gets to set the rules because I am the one who had the brilliant Idea.

Topic can be in following areas( These are just suggestions.):

  1. Social media marketing
  2. Content writing –Passion or ART or Job
  3. Tips for writing tips etc
  4. Content management systems Drupal Vs Joomla etc

Other rules –

  1. All the blogs that you write will be published on Veda Blog
  2. Judges will look at a) How interesting your topic is b) How comprehensively you have covered the topic c) Of course, grammar and other content writing principals will be looked at d) Copy pasting will immediately disqualify your blog entry. We will check it through copyscape. e) You blog post is interesting enough that we read it completely etc. f) Size DOES matter!
  3. Judging criterion will also have your say in it i.e. everyone will be allowed to select their three blog posts (other than their own). Posts that get maximum votes as number 1 etc will be preferred by judges.
  4. Last date for topic submission is Jan 21. Last date for Blog post submission will be announced on Jan 21st.
  5. Judges are
  • Harish ( Man with the brilliant idea gets to be the judge)
  • Vikrant ( Friend of man with the brilliant idea/ He also has a choice of participating instead of judging)
  • Piyush ( Man with the brilliant idea has many friends and he keeps all his friends happy, besides I know Piyush will never write a Blog post by the last date)

6.)    Prizes are

  • Winners will be instantly famous
  • 100% salary hike promised (read the fine print if you can find it..)
  • Beyond this
    • First prize – Will be announced on Jan 21 – 2009
    • Second prize – Will be announced on Jan 21- 2009
    • Third prize – 2 Gold class tickets at PVR for movie of your choice (Gold class is only available at Select Citiwalk – Saket and Ambiance mall Gurgaon)

I could have announced this contest in fewer words but the idea of the contest is about creative writing, and I wanted to increase the word count also I didn’t want to sound boring. I am open to other ideas etc. You can comment on this post with any ideas that you have.