I love this video.
Ogilvy, of course, is an old master. The man is the Leonardo Da Vinci of direct response copy.
That said… I do think there’s something he’s missing here.
He’s right about a lot of stuff. Direct response is the advertising that makes the money, and it does that because it doesn’t care about pretty. It cares about dollars.
Direct response is what makes your customers take action, right now.
But I think he’s missing the point of a lot of ‘general advertising’ agencies.
They’re not out to make their customers money. They’re out to make themselves money.
See, direct mail isn’t sexy. It’s not going to star celebrities. It’s not going to win creativity awards.
And a lot of businesses want their advertising to win creativity awards. They want their advertising to be a thing of beauty.
It’s possible they think that really does help it make money. It’s hard to prove either way, since only direct response can be properly tracked. But mostly, I think some people just like commissioning ‘pretty’ advertising than something that can be tested. After all, if it can be tested, what if the boss sees it doesn’t work?
Now, that’s not to say the direct response writers – myself included – aren’t out to make money. Believe me, I’m definitely out to make money. But because you always KNOW if my ads make you money, I’m also trying to make you money. I’m not just delivering a shiny product. I’m delivering a RESULT.
Direct response may not be sexy. Direct response may not be pretty. But by God, it does make money. And it’s very, very good at it.