Ogilvy, clams and uncle Carl.


Oglivy is running a contest in search of the world’s best salesperson.  The contest has its own YouTube channel and with lot of kids graduating in few weeks it is likely to generate lots of entries.  The winner gets a 3-month stint at Ogilvy One.

David Ogilvy started his illustrious career by selling vacuums door-to-door.  He once said, and I paraphrase, “Our business is infected by people who have never sold a thing in their lives.”  His point being, until you look a consumer in the eye while trying to convince them to part with their money, you haven’t practiced the craft.  Copywriters, art directors, coders need to leave the building in other words.


As a kid growing up on Long Island, I would never eat a hard shell clam.  Buried in the mud, looming like viscera on the shell, briny and showing an otherworldly rainbow of colors, clams weren’t happening here. Not until uncle Carl came in from the West coast, that was.  The rapture with which Uncle Carl slathering these babies onto his tongue, the giggles of enjoyment, the satisfaction in his eyes were not normally reserved for food.  His smile, conquest-like, following the downing of his hard shelled bounty were for me life changing. I was a convert within minutes. And I’ve never looked back.


What does it take to “turn” someone from a hater to a fan? Salesmanship. That’s People, Place and Thing.  The People are believable spokespeople — an expert or someone really trusted.  Place has to do with context. Corona sells better on the beach. And Thing, the Thing is the tangible reason to believe. The Thing isn’t someone “telling you to buy” it’s the unique good the product offers when purchased or used.  In uncle Carl’s case the Thing was his palpable rapture.  Get all three right and you are selling.  Otherwise, you are just broadcasting. Peace!