Remembering David Ogilvy

By: k_buchanan32
July 21 this year marks the seventh death anniversary of David Ogilvy, the renowned "Father of Advertising," whose original thinking and insistence on certain basics rocked Madison Avenue in the sixties and seventies.

It is a great tribute to the man that the four basic principles he started in his day - a dependence on research, professional discipline, creative brilliance and a preeminent regard for delivering results to clients - still form the blueprint of today's advertising agency business.

Ogilvy believed that a good advertising man is someone who has many influences. The son of a classics scholar and a financial broker, Ogilvy himself had sold cooking stoves door-to-door and was so successful that he was asked to write an instruction manual for other salesmen. He also worked as a chef, researcher and farmer.

His start in advertising is the stuff of legend. His older brother, Francis Ogilvy, was at the time working in a London ad agency called Mather & Crowther and showed his bosses the instruction manual that Ogilvy had written. Based solely on that, they offered him a job as an account executive. And just how good was the manual? Thirty years after it was written, Forbes magazine reviewed the manual and called it "the finest sales instruction manual ever written."

Ogilvy created many advertising campaigns that grabbed attention and moved products off the shelves. Among people's favorites are those for Hathaway shirt, Schweppes, Rolls-Royce and Shell. He was considered both a creative genius and a maverick during his time and some of his efforts caused a stir in Madison Avenue, which was the heart of the advertising industry.

His first advertising effort showed a naked woman and, though he said this embarrassed him, he believed that nudity did have its place in advertising. In his book, Ogilvy on Advertising, he wrote about a French advertising campaign that played itself out on a giant billboard. The first of three installments showed a beautiful woman in a bathing suite with the caption, "On September 2, I will take off my top." On September 2, the billboard was replaced with the same woman now wearing only a thong and a caption that said, "On September 4, I will take off my bottom." By then the entire country was a-buzz as eager men waited to see if she would keep her promise. And on September 4, she did, with a product of the agency's client right beside her.
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