David Mackenzie Ogilvy CBE (23 June 1911 – 21 July 1999) was a British advertising tycoon, founder of Ogilvy & Mather, and known as the "Father of Advertising". Trained at the Gallup research organisation, he attributed the success of his campaigns to meticulous research into consumer habits.
David Mackenzie Ogilvy was born on 23 June 1911 at West Horsley, Surrey in England. His mother was daughter of a civil servant from Ireland. His father was a stockbroker.
He was a first cousin once removed of the writer Rebecca West and of Douglas Holden Blew Jones, who was the brother-in-law of Freda Dudley Ward and the father-in-law of Antony Lambton, 6th Earl of Durham. Ogilvy attended St Cyprian's School, Eastbourne, on reduced fees because of his father's straitened circumstances and won a scholarship at age thirteen to Fettes College, in Edinburgh.
In 1929, he again won a scholarship, this time in History to Christ Church, Oxford. His studies were not successful, however, and he left Oxford for Paris in 1931 where he became an apprentice chef in the Hotel Majestic.
After a year, he returned to Scotland and started selling AGA cooking stoves, door-to-door. His success at this marked him out to his employer, who asked him to write an instruction manual, The Theory and Practice of Selling the AGA Cooker, for the other salesmen. Thirty years later, Fortune magazine editors called it the finest sales instruction manual ever written.
After seeing the manual, Ogilvy's older brother Francis Ogilvy—the father of actor Ian Ogilvy—showed the manual to management at the London advertising agency Mather & Crowther where he was working. They offered the younger Ogilvy a position as an account executive.
In 1938, Ogilvy persuaded his agency to send him to the United States for a year, where he went to work for George Gallup's Audience Research Institute in New Jersey. Ogilvy cites Gallup as one of the major influences on his thinking, emphasizing meticulous research methods and adherence to reality.
During World War II, Ogilvy worked for the British Intelligence Service at the British embassy in Washington, DC. There he analyzed and made recommendations on matters of diplomacy and security. Eisenhower’s Psychological Warfare Board picked up the report and successfully put Ogilvy’s suggestions to work in Europe during the last year of the war.
Also during World War II David Ogilvy was a notable alumnus of the secret Camp X, located near the towns of Whitby and Oshawa in Ontario, Canada.
After the war, Ogilvy bought a farm in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and lived among the Amish. The atmosphere of "serenity, abundance, and contentment" kept Ogilvy and his wife in Pennsylvania for several years, but eventually he admitted his limitations as a farmer and moved to Manhattan.
Having worked as a chef, researcher, and farmer, Ogilvy now started his own advertising agency with the backing of Mather and Crowther, the London agency being run by his elder brother, Francis, which later acquired another London agency, S.H. Benson. The new agency in New York was called Ogilvy, Benson, and Mather. David Ogilvy had just $6,000 ($59,726.72 in 2016 dollars) in his account when he started the agency. He writes in Confessions of an Advertising Man that, initially, he struggled to get clients.
Ogilvy & Mather was built on David Ogilvy's principles; in particular, that the function of advertising is to sell and that successful advertising for any product is based on information about its consumer. He disliked advertisements that had loud patronizing voices, and believed a customer should be treated as intelligent. In 1955, he coined the phrase, "The customer is not a moron, she's your wife" based on these values.
His entry into the company of giants started with several iconic advertising campaigns: former First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, did a commercial for Good Luck Margarine in 1959. In his autobiography, Ogilvy On Advertising, he said it had been a mistake to persuade her to do the ad – not because it was undignified, but because he had grown to realize that putting celebs in ads is a mistake.
"Pablo Casals is coming home – to Puerto Rico", a campaign which Ogilvy said helped change the image of a country, and was his proudest achievement.
One of his greatest successes was "Only Dove is one-quarter moisturizing cream". This campaign helped Dove become the top selling soap in the U.S
Ogilvy believed that the best way to get new clients was to do notable work for his existing clients. Success in his early campaigns helped Ogilvy get big clients such as Rolls-Royce and Shell. New clients followed and Ogilvy's company grew quickly. He was widely hailed as "The Father of Advertising" In 1962, Time called him "the most sought-after wizard in today's advertising industry".
Ogilvy & Mather linked with H.H.D Europe in 1972.
In 1973, Ogilvy retired as Chairman of Ogilvy & Mather and moved to Touffou, his estate in France.
The Château de Touffou is a castle, converted into a mansion, in the commune of Bonnes 18 km east of Poitiers, 3 km north of Chauvigny in the Vienne département and on a long tall bank of the River Vienne, France.
The château was constructed over several centuries. The Medieval Wing includes Romanesque and gothic elements (the keep). The east half dates back to the 12th century while the west half was constructed in the early 15th century. The Renaissance Wing was added during the 16th century by the Chasteigner family. The main difference between these two epochs in castle construction is that in the Middle Ages, a castle was built for defense. In the Renaissance however, a castle was a home for nobles. Rather than defense and protection, the castle-dwellers in the Renaissance strived for classy, fashionable residences.
Today, the Medieval Wing is used to accommodate large business meetings and seminars, and the Renaissance Wing is the private residence of the castle proprietor.
The castle has been privately owned throughout its existence. It passed from the Oger family (1127-1280) to the Montléon family (1280-1519) and eventually to the Chasteigner family (1519-1821). Jean Chasteigner III, a Chamberlain to Francis I, oversaw most of the castle’s renovation in the early Renaissance.
Once the Chasteigners sold the castle, Touffou changed hands several times, finally being purchased in 1966 by David Ogilvy from the "de Vergie family". The castle is still owned by the Ogilvy family, even after David's death in 1999.
In 1923 the castle was recognized as a monument historique, and in 2004 its gardens were classified as among the Notable Gardens of France by the French Ministry of Culture.
While no longer involved in the agency's day-to-day operations, he stayed in touch with the company. His correspondence so dramatically increased the volume of mail handled in the nearby town of Bonnes that the post office was reclassified at a higher status and the postmaster's salary raised.
“IT TAKES A BIG IDEA TO ATTRACT THE ATTENTION OF CONSUMERS AND GET THEM TO BUY YOUR PRODUCT. UNLESS YOUR ADVERTISING CONTAINS A BIG IDEA, IT WILL PASS LIKE A SHIP IN THE NIGHT. I DOUBT IF MORE THAN ONE CAMPAIGN IN A HUNDRED CONTAINS A BIG IDEA.”
Ogilvy came out of retirement in the 1980s to serve as chairman of Ogilvy, Benson, & Mather in India. He also spent a year acting as temporary chairman of the agency’s German office, commuting weekly between Touffou and Frankfurt. He visited branches of the company around the world, and continued to represent Ogilvy & Mather at gatherings of clients and business audiences.
In 1989, The Ogilvy Group was bought by WPP Group, a British parent company, for US$864 million in a hostile takeover made possible by the fact that the company group had made an IPO as the first company in marketing to do so.
During the takeover procedures, Sir Martin Sorrell, the founder of WPP, was described by Ogilvy as an "odious little shit", and he promised to never work again. Eventually he became a fan of Sorrell, and he was quoted as saying, 'When he tried to take over our company, I would liked to have killed him. But it was not legal. I wish I had known him 40 years ago. I like him enormously now.'
Ogilvy was made a Commander of the Order of British Empire (CBE) in 1967. He was elected to the U.S. Advertising Hall of Fame in 1977 and to France's Order of Arts and Letters in 1990. He chaired the Public Participation Committee for Lincoln Center in Manhattan and served as a member of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 100th Anniversary Committee. He was appointed Chairman of the United Negro College Fund in 1968, and trustee on the Executive Council of the World Wildlife Fund in 1975. Mr. Ogilvy was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 1979.
David Ogilvy died on 21 July 1999 at his home, the Château de Touffou, in Bonnes, France.
David Ogilvy was a pretty smart dude. Often called the father of advertising, he’s responsible for some of the most successful advertising campaigns of all time – success he attributes to his meticulous research into consumer habits.
His philosophies on creativity and brand identity are legend, and many believe he is the inspiration for Don Draper, Jon Hamm’s character in Mad Men.
In addition to building a wildly successful advertising empire, he also wrote numerous books, each containing their fair share of pearls of wisdom. read full article
For over a half century, David Ogilvy was the dapper executive behind New York’s powerhouse marketing firm Ogilvy & Mather. He was also the original “Mad Man,” a martini-slugging, pipe-puffing male now personified by Don Draper and idealized by a generation of guys who, like myself, have gone on one too many outings to Pottery Barn. full article