David Mackenzie Ogilvy, 1911 - 1999
Born: 23 June 1911, West Horsley, Surrey, England
Died: 21 July 1999, Chateau de Touffou, Bonnes, France
Educated at Fettes College at Edinburgh, then on to Christ Church College Oxford where he says they threw him out after two years. He apprenticed for a year in the kitchen at the Hotel Majestic at Paris, then returned to England and sold cooking stoves (AGA Cookers) door to door. They asked him to write a manual for other salesmen, thirty years later Fortune described it as one of the finest sales manuals ever written. An older brother got him an internship in an advertising agency, and he soon got an assignment in the US. He worked for Gallup learning research, then served in the security section of the British Embassy during the war. After the war he bought a farm in the Amish country of eastern Pennsylvania, then started an advertising agency where he created much of the best remembered and longest running ad campaigns of the century. He retired in 1973 but kept an interest in the field, in the '80s he returned to head Ogilvy, Benson, and Mather in India and managed the agency's German office for a year. When WPP Group, the largest advertising firm, bought the firm, Ogilvy became non-executive chairman for three years.
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David Ogilvy quotes:
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- A good advertisement is one which sells the product without drawing attention to itself. permalink
- A lot of today's campaigns are based on optimum positioning but are totally ineffective — because they are dull, or badly constructed, or ineptly written. If nobody reads your advertisement or looks at your commercial, it doesn't do you much good to have the right positioning. permalink
- Advertising is a business of words, but advertising agencies are infested with men and women who cannot write. They are as helpless as deaf mutes on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera. permalink
- Advertising is only evil when it advertises evil things. permalink
- Advertising is the place where the selfish interests of the manufacturer coincide with the interests of society. permalink
- Advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals. permalink
- Advertising reflects the mores of society, but it does not influence them. permalink
- Agencies which frequently work nights and weekends are more stimulating, more successful — and more profitable. permalink
- Always hold your sales meetings in rooms too small for the audience, even if it means holding them in the WC. 'Standing room only' creates an atmosphere of success, as in theaters and restaurants, while a half-empty auditorium smells of failure. permalink
- At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock. permalink
- Can advertising foist an inferior product on the consumer? Bitter experience has taught me that it cannot. On those rare occasions when I have advertised products which consumer tests have found inferior to other products in the same field, the results have been disastrous. permalink
- Candor compels me to admit that I have no conclusive research to support my view that jingles are less persuasive than the spoken word. You'd run like hell if a salesman came to your door and began singing at you. Why do it in advertising? permalink
- Develop your eccentricities while you are young. That way, when you get old, people won't think you're going gaga. permalink
- Doctor Gallup reports that if you say something which you don't also illustrate, the viewer immediately forgets it. I conclude that if you don't show it there is no point in saying it. Try running your commercial with the sound turned off; if it doesn't tell without sound, it is useless. permalink
- Don't bunt. Aim out of the ball park. Aim for the company of immortals. permalink
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