Rethink Your Advertising Strategy: “You cannot bore someone into buying your product.”

The headline quote comes from David Ogilvy, legendary advertiser who was called  “the most sought-after wizard in today’s advertising industry” by Time in 1962 and since then been seen as the father of advertising with iconic advertising campaigns such as Schweppes, Rolls-Royce and Hathaway Shirts.

You cannot bore someone into buying your product. Let’s say it again and really rub it in: You cannot bore someone into buying your product. Despite the obvious statement, this is what many companies are doing.

“Years of language dilution by lawyers, marketers, executives, and HR departments have turned the powerful, descriptive sentence into an empty vessel optimized for buzzwords, jargon, and vapid expressions”, says Jason Fried in his article Why is Business Writing so Awful? on

Let’s do better than this next time you encounter your clients or prospects. Cut the crap and learn to avoid common mistakes businesses do. Here’s some advice:


What NOT to do in your next advertising campaign:

1. Don’t fill your ad with corporate bullshit!

Many companies use words simply as fillers on their websites and marketing material, and fail to connect with their audience. Who wants to read line after line with corporate bullshit? Who wants to read text that says nothing? Who wants to read without understanding what it means to me? The answer is no-one.

2. Don’t describe the product’s features!

A lot of companies fail to explain why the reader should care about them or about their products. When describing a product, many companies describe the products’ features, not its benefits. Nobody cares about all the technical details of a new cell-phone. What they care about are if they can surf faster, take better photos or store more information. They want to know how the phone can improve their lives, not about TFT-screens or SIM-types.

3. Don’t write from your corporate perspective!

This is very important to keep in mind when writing for customers. Write for them, not from your corporate perspective. If you fail to address them correctly, you will bore them and not sell a thing.

Do you have good or bad examples of how companies advertise? Please tweet me @CoSkills or share in the comment box below!

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About the author

Anna Rydne is an award winning and highly skilled communications specialist with +13 years of experience in the field of internal and external communication, PR and marketing. What distinguishes her from others in her field of expertise is that she treats communication as entertainment. It's simple to explain why: if it isn't funny or relevant enough, people switch channel. Anna has a special interest in personal branding and she believes the road to success is trying. Based in Stockholm, Sweden, she's determined to uncover the secrets of how successful people and companies communicate. She tweets about all things comms, social media and marketing @CoSkills and writes for once a month. She holds a bachelor's degree in psychology. Contact her at

4 Responses to Rethink Your Advertising Strategy: “You cannot bore someone into buying your product.”

  1. Very well said Anna! Unfortunatelly i don’t have a good example to share…. just your previous post, i really loved that little MOO! 🙂

  2. Anna Rydne says:

    There are not many companies which do it as cute as MOO. But some do it quite nice here and there. For example, someone at has written a funny pop up text when you delete an update on your buffer account. They say: Your tweet has been deleted! The poor thing… (Calling a deleted tweet “poor thing” is pretty funny, I think. 🙂 )

  3. […] PS. If you like to read more about the subject, I’ve written another post called Rethink Your Advertising Strategy: ¨You cannot bore someone into buying your product.¨ […]

  4. […] advertising guru David Ogilvy once said: You cannot bore people into buying your product. (I’ve written a story about it here). That’s true even for internal comms: you cannot bore people into reading your corporate […]

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