On May 11th, I reflected on the advice George Olmstead once wrote in a house ad for Young & Rubicam. George was the master of print advertising, yet his advice applies to all advertising.
Here's a look at the tear sheet for the ad. Boleslaw (Bob) Czernysz was the art director.
"Corporate advertising can pay off for your company in lots of ways.
If it's good corporate advertising. Unfat, unfuzzy, unstuffy, and uncomplicated.
Is there a key to corporate advertising that's sharp and effective? We think so.
Do it like product advertising. With all the same unforgiving disciplines you'd follow in selling toothpaste or dog food or seats on airplanes.
Disciplines? Start with a clear definition of exactly what the advertising is to accomplish. And exactly how you plan to measure it's success or failure.
And exactly who it's talking to.
Then remind yourself that no one really wants to read advertising. You have to make your ads so compelling that people can't help themselves.
Which means telling your story - any story - in terms of the reader's self interest. They want to know, 'What's in it for me?'
Talk like a person, one-to-one. Not preaching, but conversing with a friend.
Keep things simple, too - the way good product advertising does. (Just because it's corporate advertising doesn't mean there is room for the kitchen sink.)
Of course Y&R believes in corporate advertising. When it's hard edged, focused, and disciplined.
Like the best product advertising."
George Olmstead wrote this advice in the late 1970s. Given the state of business today, his words are even more important.