The Magic Lantern: Financial Advertising That Sells

Last year, I had the chance to talk to former Ogilvy & Mather CEO, Ken Roman, after the release of his outstanding biography on David Ogilvy.

One of the things we discussed was the extraordinary series of print ads that Ogilvy & Mather Direct published in the 1960s and 1970s.

The O & M  house ads were created to attract new clients and new business, and demonstrated David Ogilvy’s magic lantern in action.

The magic lantern revealed all the principles, techniques and takeaways the agency discovered through its advertising campaigns. All new hires at O & M were required to watch slide and film presentations about the magic lantern.

“How to create financial advertising that sells” is a perfect example. This ad, and many of the ads in this series, was written by world class copywriter, Joel Raphaelson.

The ad starts off:

Ogilvy & Mather has created over $100 million worth of advertising for clients in many financial fields — banking, insurance,investments, credit cards.

Here are twelve of the things we have learned.

The ad then goes on to detail these twelve things.

The second principle, which highlights five ways of building a bond of trust with your prospect, is excellent and still relevant today.

Even someone, who’d never heard of Ogilvy & Mather would be forced to at least read some of the body copy. The effect of all these magic lantern principles on one page is the prospect is overwhelmed and convinced beyond any shadow of doubt that the agency’s expertise in this area is impeccable.

Obviously, lots of things have changed in financial advertising since this ad was written in 1974 but the magic lantern still packs a tremendous punch.


  1. says

    This is a great piece — I’ve kept a copy of this piece on the wall by my desk for years now … and always wondered who wrote it. Thanks for sharing!

  2. admin says

    I’ll be commentless for a while.

    Yesterday… kidney stone passed.

    Today… 7 hour drive ahead and plenty of snow.

  3. Joe says

    Thanks for this piece, you rock. Have anything on the insurance side (medical/health insurance, life insurance). Can you point me in the right direction. Thanks.

  4. says

    Thanks for sharing this on David Ogilvy. Your posts are excellent. So glad he’s getting the attention he deserves — the book is amazing. I am interested in his methods of coming up with big ideas.

  5. says

    Good Gawd, Lawrence … passing a kidney stone? You might as well have given birth. Which, I’m told, is the only thing that hurts as much as that.

    And then you took off on a full-day drive? What a stud. That’s why we all look up to you.

    Hope you get feeling better.

    Marc (ex-herpetologist)
    SLC, UT

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