On September 7th, 1982, David Ogilvy sent the following internal to all agency employees, titled “How to Write”:
The better you
write, the higher you go in Ogilvy & Mather. People who think well, write
people write woolly memos, woolly letters and woolly speeches.
Good writing is
not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well. Here are 10 hints:
1. Read the
Roman-Raphaelson book on writing. Read it three times.
2. Write the way
you talk. Naturally.
3. Use short
words, short sentences and short paragraphs.
4. Never use
jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally.
They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass.
5. Never write
more than two pages on any subject.
6. Check your
7. Never send a
letter or a memo on the day you write it. Read it aloud the next morning — and
then edit it.
8. If it is
something important, get a colleague to improve it.
9. Before you
send your letter or your memo, make sure it is crystal clear what you want the
recipient to do.
10. If you want
ACTION, don’t write. Go and tell the guy what you want.
Discover more of David's thinking in this now rare book: The Unpublished David Ogilvy.
Sponsored by: The Brand Storytelling Workshop
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