People wonder why David Ogilvy was such a success. In reality, it is no wonder; he examined what his customers wanted, and then he gave it to them.
Ogilvy was trained under the famous Dr. Gallup, the creator of the Gallup poll. In Ogilvy's time, he was charged with figuring out what movies should be more successful than others by interviewing movie viewers and helping movie studios come out with big hits in different seasons.
You could then say that David Ogilvy and his assistance to Gallup helped create the "blockbuster" movie; a movie that will actually captivate an entire "neighborhood block" to see it. All because they measured the viewers' behavior.
Ah yes, the birth of behavioral economics.
Economics gets a bad rap because we all use it. Economics can be simply defined as the relationship between players within a certain environment. The players within that environment then choose how they want to interact.
In business, the message of interacting, whether you want to believe or not, is marketing.
Rory Sutherland, the vice chariman of Ogilvy & Mather in the U.K., the agency that David Ogilvy founded, is also the leader behind Ogilvy Change, the branch solely involved in examining consumer behavior in order to make advertising decisions.
Sutherland thinks that Ogilvy would love what Ogilvy Change is accomplishing, and we agree.
Though "behavioral economics" is a new concept, it has been engrained with good and legendary advertising for decades.
Ogilvy's inspiration, Claude Hopkins, has an entire book about the thinking behind marketing. These concepts are not exclusive, and thinking so is foolish. And in an in-depth talk with Sutherland, the guys behind Freakonomics tries to understand how well behavioral economics and advertising really get along.
A match made in heaven.
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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