Summary of Ogilvy on Advertising in the Digital Age

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Ogilvy on Advertising in the Digital Age book summary
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David Ogilvy’s book Ogilvy on Advertising became an instant industry classic in the 1980s. He dispelled myths surrounding the ad business and showcased work he admired, including his own. His philosophy led his successors, including the author, former Ogilvy chairman Miles Young, to view digital media as a channel for advertising rather than as a separate discipline. Because Ogilvy advocated separating “the eternal verities from the passing fads,” Young tries to dispel the hype around digital. He extends Ogilvy’s approach into the digital age, as he combines teaching digital advertising basics with highlighting successful campaigns and exploring trends online and around the world. 

About the Author

Miles Young is Warden of New College, Oxford. He is the former worldwide chairman and CEO of the Ogilvy & Mather, an international advertising, marketing, communications, consulting and public relations agency.



The ubiquitous force of the Digital Revolution forever changed the business of marketing and of advertising agencies.

The internet’s founders believed they were ushering in a “free and equal” virtual world. Today, the advertising industry pays for content that most users believe is free. The Digital Revolution upended traditional business.

Brands no longer control the impact a crafted message has on a mass audience. Ad agencies have fragmented, and must juggle platforms and touchpoints. Large shops compete with boutique agencies specializing in digital, social media marketing or content generation. Google and Facebook have tried to disintermediate the advertising industry, but advertising agencies remain essential to building a brand.

Information overload makes it more difficult to attract and retain people’s attention. Ad agencies must make sense of the noise and help people find meaning. This requires reassembling the fragments into something coherent and applying long-term thinking.

Digital blurs the lines separating advertising, marketing, public relations and ...

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