As I am preparing my opening night lecture for my Public Relations Tactics class that begins March 30 at UC San Diego Extension, I am reminded of the undisputed champion of starting a course with a bang.
A Harvard University professor used to begin his series of lectures with a sentence that took his students by the throat: “Caesar Borgia murdered his brother in-law for the love of his sister, who was the mistress of their father, the Pope.”
I’m listening, go on……How to grab a reader’s attention was one of the lessons I’ve learned by reading David Ogilvy, who Time magazine called “the most sought-after wizard in the advertising business.” Ogilvy, who lived from 1911 to 1999, made it a mission to codify what works in persuasive communications.
Without the reader’s attention, all is lost. “You can’t save souls in an empty church,” is another piece of wisdom from Ogilvy, who many call “The Father of Modern Advertising.”
In his books Confessions of An Advertising Man and Ogilvy on Advertising, he demonstrated his expertise by giving away valuable information. Oglivy told readers how to solve their communications problems in general; many became clients and hired him for his specific advice.