Craftsmen of Creativity: Tales of a Creative Revolution pays tribute to the brave men and women whose form of creative activism led to profound change throughout the advertising industry. Through a series of animated shorts, you’ll see the stories from their careers unfold, and the adversity they overcame on the road to legendary status.

Episode 2 centres on David Ogilvy and a colossal tiff between the old guard and the new. We follow the story of the Scotsman who eschewed family expectation to meander between jobs and ultimately draw on his formative experiences to build one of the largest advertising agencies the world has ever seen. We see the ensuing battle between himself and Sir Martin Sorrell, a rising star who fast turned WPP into a multimedia conglomerate, culminating in a face-off over the agency the Craftsman had built from nothing.

Ogilvy’s hallmark, many say, was his confidence when it came to producing quality work. And over many years he created and refined a ‘formula’ to selling documented in many publications, starting with “The Theory and Practice of Selling the AGA Cooker”, which he wrote aged 24.

The following 11 commandments highlight something ignored all too often in advertising today: craft. Ogilvy had it by the bucket load and never stopped honing it.

  1. What you say is more important than how you say it.
  2. Unless your campaign is built around a great idea, it will flop.
  3. Give the facts. The consumer isn’t a moron; she is your wife. You insult her intelligence if you assume that a mere slogan and a few vapid adjectives will persuade her to buy anything. She wants all the information you can give her.
  4. You cannot bore people into buying. We make advertisements that people want to read. You can’t save souls in an empty church.
  5. Be well-mannered, but don’t clown.
  6. Make your advertising contemporary.
  7. Committees can criticize advertisements, but they cannot write them.
  8. If you are lucky enough to write a good advertisement, repeat it until it stops pulling. Sterling Getchel’s famous advertisement for Plymouth (“Look at All Three”) appeared only once and was succeeded by a series of inferior variations which were quickly forgotten. But the Sherwin Cody School of English ran the same advertisement (“Do You Make These Mistakes in English?”) for forty-two years, changing only the typeface and the color of Mr Cody’s beard.
  9. Never write an advertisement which you wouldn’t want your own family to read. Good products can be sold by honest advertising. If you don’t think the product is good, you have no business to be advertising it. If you tell lies, or weasel, you do your client a disservice, you increase your load of guilt, and you fan the flames of public resentment against the whole business of advertising.
  10. The image and the brand. It is the total personality of a brand rather than any trivial product difference which decides its ultimate position in the market.
  11. Don’t be a copycat. Nobody has ever built a brand by imitating somebody else’s advertising. Imitation may be the’ ‘sincerest form of plagiarism,” but it is also the mark of an inferior person.