Confessions of an Advertising Man

knew ideas

Steve Boese recently ran a post called Lessons of an Man #1. In it he summarized a key lesson gleaned from David Ogilvy’s book Confessions of an Advertising Man, which was published in 1963. You might ask: What on earth is relevant from a book published back in the “olden days” (as my daughter calls anything before about 1990)?

I won’t spoil the surprise – go read Steve’s post for the full story – but the biggest insight is that it’s a lesson leadership experts are preaching today. Steve concludes his post by saying: Ogilvy had it figured out in 1960. How long do you think it will take the rest of us to catch on?

How long indeed?

Neil Usher coined the concept “Knew Ideas” (he’s the first I heard use the phrase, so I’m giving him credit). Knew Ideas are simply ideas we already know, repackaged as new. Us humans so desperately want the latest and greatest, the new and different, the simple and easy, that we ignore what we know works and leap from Shiny to Shiny.

The weight loss industry is a great example of Knew Ideas. How many more ways can we repackage the simple concept: eat less, exercise more? They are an easy target, but the personal and leadership development industries don’t lag far behind.

Interestingly, because there isn’t much new when it comes to leading and dealing with other humans, we eventually loop back around to where we started.

Today’s “innovations” in leadership and interpersonal skills have been around for years, only recently re-discovered, re-packaged, and soon to be re-discarded.

Your thoughts?