David Ogilvy was an Oxford-educated advertising tycoon who retired to a castle in France. He founded and led Ogilvy & Mather and is sometimes referred to as the “Father of Advertising.” He is also the man who literally wrote the book on the business—Ogilvy on Advertising. Trained at the Gallup research organization, he attributed the success of his campaigns to meticulous research into consumer habits.
Ogilvy was a salesman and a copywriter. It’s important to note how few salesmen can write copy and the same can be said for copywriters who don’t know how to sell.
His thinking is from another time, but it’s far from dated. In fact, his pearls of wisdom are as relevant today as ever, and arguably more necessary.
Allow me to recap the above social media posters:
- Believe in the client’s product
- Find and elevate a big idea
- Get comfortable with chaos
How does that sound? Are you ready to carry the torch for the ad business and show your clients the way? Presumably, it is what you’ve been hired to do.
Advertising has never been a safe harbor for the timid and unoriginal. To guide clients to one successful outcome after the next, it takes personal integrity, bravery, patience, and resilience (plus, the agency needs a process that distills the team’s findings into strategic action items). David Ogilvy embodied these timeless and essential qualities.
Ogilvy’s accomplishments and his thinking are needed today to help to inform and inspire another new generation of persuaders. That’s why I’m showcasing him here. If I made stamps, I’d make a stamp with his likeness on it. But I don’t make stamps. I write articles.