On Marketing: We Sell Or Else



When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it ‘creative.’ I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product.

~ David Ogilvy

Yesterday I wrote a post on unleashing creativity.  As a follow up to that post, I thought I would share my thoughts on how creativity is applied to the discipline of marketing.  

When it comes to greatness in marketing and advertising, Ogilvy and Mather ranks with the best.  The founder, David Ogilvy, emphasized a core axiom that continues to guide the company today, “We sell or else.”

According to current CEO, Miles Young, “we sell or else” means they believe in both creativity and effectiveness when approaching branding and marketing. Creativity pursued for its own sake is not very useful.  The same goes with effectiveness.  But together, they are very very powerful.  Simply put, creativity + effectiveness = the ability to express an idea in an interesting way such that it grabs the complete and undivided attention of the targeted audience + inspires them to buy.  Ogilvy has remained true to its core “why” of creativity + effectiveness and has consistently delivered great results. As leaders and executives, we can learn from this success.

To illustrate the power of this axiom, the following is a story told about Mr. Ogilvy and a blind beggar:

“David was once strolling through the streets of New York City on a morning walk, when he happened to see a blind beggar. He had an empty cup and a placard around his neck that said – “I am a blind”. As was quite obvious from the man’s empty cup, Ogilvy realized that the beggar wasn’t really doing very well.  So he took out a marker pen and turning the placard around, wrote – “It is spring and I am blind.” Hanging the placard back onto the man’s neck, Ogilvy went on his way. While coming back home he was extremely happy to see that the blind guy had an almost full cup.”  Check out the full story reference here.  

Rudy Revak, an inspirational leader, businessman, and speaker, sent me a great one minute video that tells a variation of this story.  Take the one minute and let it inspire you.  Watch it here.  

If you have some extra time, check out great videos of Olgivy’s current work here.  I’m sure you’ll recognize many of the brands and campaigns.  

Choose to be creative and effective in your marketing.  Choose greatness.


One thought on “On Marketing: We Sell Or Else

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s