Four Powerful Speeches every Ad Man needs to Watch


A presentation or speech can make the world of difference in your career. It’s your moment to share with a group of captivated listeners your story, message, dreams or share your passion. It’s the grown-up professional show and tell. It’s the way knowledge and expertise can be shared around the world in the matter of hours. With organizations like TED in existence, were living in an age where our voice is our message. Where we are able to present facts and fiction to the masses without being a journalist.

All it takes is one speech to make an impact.

Professionally and Personally.

You see, to be an extremely successful ad man you must know how to handle a crowd and captivate an audience. The gentlemen below do just that with some of the most thought provoking and persuading talks I’ve yet to come across. You will see that some of these talks are from the past ten years while others are more twenty years old. Listen to these talks and take not one word for granted.

Let’s get into it shall we…

Don Draper The Carousel: Kodak Pitch

Yes, it’s fiction. Yet, it’s beautiful.

If you think you know how to command a room, take a look at this clip. Don Draper makes one of the greatest presentations in television history. He takes his own life and  mixes it with a fresh concept elevated to perfection using nothing but raw emotion. The fearless combination of story telling and passion results in the tears of his colleagues.

While this is fiction, you can make this a reality. Every time you present. Every time you share a new concept.

Add a little emotion swirled with passion and see what happens. It might just leave your audience in tears.

Lesson: Every time you pitch. Strive for tears.

David Ogilvy – We Sell or Else

This presentation is given by the King of Madison Avenue himself, David Ogilvy. He discusses two different worlds; direct response advertising and general advertising. He goes on to explain how at the time of the video these two worlds were on a  collision course. These days, many marketers would argue that these two worlds David speaks of have indeed joined under the umbrella we call traditional advertising.

The whole situation sounds quite similar to the whole social media vs. traditional media, doesn’t it?

He also educates the audience with valuable insight regarding TV commercials and direct mail. Direct mail was the approach he used to turn his company into one of the greatest agencies in the world. This talk demonstrates not only his entrepreneurial spirit but also the importance of persistence in business.

Lesson: Don’t bunt. Aim out of the ball park.

Seth Godin – Ideas that spread, Win

This is one of my favourite presentations because of the variety of lessons you can learn from watching it. The first thing to notice is how Seth Godin commands the stage. He stays calm throughout and presents his ideas with a variety of different tones. Listen close to the transitions in his voice when it comes to his tone and speed. He does it with perfection to deliver a powerful message and tell captivating stories.

Lesson: Ideas that spread, win.

Leo Burnett – When To Take My Name Off the Door

I could go into detail and describe the reason why I love this video. Sure, I could share my aspirations and dreams right here in this copy. Instead, I’ll share with you a snippet from Derek Walkers post on Ad Age:

The advertising industry is not perfect by far, but it is one of the few places where people can live their dream and be passionate. Yes, it needs to evolve to address the changes in society and technology but why would anyone put himself/herself through what we are facing in this industry and not be passionate?

I would rather work with a group of passionate people than work with a group of intellectuals. A passionate person very seldom settles or accepts less than hi best effort.

I e-mailed the link to Leo Burnett’s speech to as many advertising professionals (black, white, brown, yellow, male or female) as I could. We need to know it is OK to be passionate.

No. Let me rephrase that.

Being passionate is one of the requirements for being successful in the advertising industry.

Get the picture?