Are you a good creative director or are you the greatest creative director in the world? David Ogilvy, arguably the world's greatest adman, laid out this self-test to help you find out how you rate.
It’s 1 July 1979 and you are just a creative director working for the international advertising behemoth Ogilvy & Mather.
You’ve just grabbed your first coffee of the day and ambled along to the agency’s reception area to check your pigeon-hole. There’s the usual rubbish – letters, unsolicited CVs from junior creatives, a request for Sandra’s birthday collection – but one thing grabs your attention: a memo from the boss, David Ogilvy.
The subject line of the memo screams out in large bold capital letters: ARE YOU THE GREATEST?
This memo, which was sent by the great man himself to all of his creative bosses to ensure that they were asking all the right questions when considering the merits of the agency’s creative work, has recently been unearthed in a new biography about Ogilvy entitled The King of Madison Avenue by Kenneth Roman, who worked alongside him for many years.
So, as a creative can you answer ‘yes’ to all of Ogilvy’s questions? Indeed, 30-years on, should you still be answering ‘yes’ to all of his questions or have the rules of great advertising changed dramatically? Are the points he makes still relevant in an age where the medium is often the last part of the equation, an era when it’s the big idea that really counts? Take the test and lets us know what you think.
ARE YOU THE GREATEST?
Are you creating the most remarkable advertising in your country?
Is this generally recognised, inside and outside your agency?
Can you show new-business prospects at least four campaigns which will electrify them?
Have you stopped over-loading commercials?
Have you stopped singing the sales-pitch?
Do all your commercials start with a visual grabber?
Have you stopped using cartoon characters when selling to adults?
Do you show at least six Magic Lanterns to everyone who joins your staff?
If they don’t understand English, have you had all the Lanterns translated into their language?
Do you repeat the brand-name several times in every commercial?
Have you stopped using celebrity testimonials in television commercials?
Have you got a list of red-hot creative people in other agencies, ready for the day you can afford to hire them?
Do all your campaigns execute an agreed positioning?
Do they promise a benefit- which has been tested?
Do you always super the promise at least twice in every commercial?
Have you had at least three Big Ideas in the last six months?
Do you always make the product the hero?
Are you going to win more creative awards than any other agency this year?
Do you use problem-solution, humour, relevant characters, slice-of-life?
Do you eschew life-style commercials?
Do your people gladly work nights and weekends?
Are you good at injecting news into your campaign?
Do you always show the product in use?
Does your house-reel include some commercials with irresistible charm?
Do you always show the package at the end?
Have you stopped using visual clichés—like sunsets and happy families at a dinner table?
Do you use lots of visual surprises?
Do the illustrations in your print advertisements contain story-appeal?
Are you phasing out addy layouts and moving to editorial layouts?
Do you sometimes use visualised contrast?
Do all your headlines contain the brand name and the promise?
Are all your illustrations photographs?
Have you stopped setting copy ragged left and right?
Have you stopped using more than 40 characters in a line of copy?
Have you stopped setting copy smaller than 10-point and bigger than 12-point?
Do you always paste advertisements into magazines or newspapers before you OK them?
Have you stopped setting body-copy in sans-serif?
Have you stopped beating your wife?
• If you have answered YES to all these questions, you are the greatest creative director on earth.
Kenneth Roman will be speaking about the life and work of David Ogilvy at a forthcoming Marketing Industry Network event. For full details visit the MIN website.