Whether you’re a fan of David Mackenzie Ogilvy or not, it’s safe to say that he has a huge influence on modern advertising. He was a famous British advertising tycoon and founder of the agency Ogilvy & Mather. He’s also known as the “Father of Advertising”.
During his early career, David Ogilvy was a successful businessman who helped many well-known companies such as Shell, Rolls-Royce, Dove soap and General Foods. He became a leader of the American advertising industry. He was also a trustee of the World Wildlife Fund. He was inducted into the US Advertising Hall of Fame in 1977.
David Ogilvy was born in 1911 in West Horsley, Surrey, England. He studied at Fettes College in Edinburgh, and later attended Christ Church, Oxford, where he received a history scholarship. He dropped out of school, but later returned to Oxford. His mother was a classics scholar.
Before he came to New York, Ogilvy lived in the countryside of Pennsylvania and Lancaster County, where he and his wife lived among the Amish. His interest in psychology and statistics showed in an unpublished saga about the Aga stove. His agency wrested many assignments from companies such as Lever Brothers, General Foods, American Express, Shell, Rolls-Royce, Dove and Sears.
After his work with the British intelligence agency, Ogilvy was recruited in 1942 to work for the British embassy in Washington, DC. His assignment was to prevent the enemy from gaining access to strategic materials in Latin America. His superiors were impressed with his skills. He also worked as a researcher for the Audience Research Institute, operated by George Gallup, in Princeton. The institute’s adherence to reality and meticulous research methods were emphasized. Ogilvy’s ideas were successfully implemented by the Eisenhower’s Psychological Warfare Board during the final year of the war.
Ogilvy was hired by Mather & Crowther as an accountant. He later became a partner. He was a former diplomat who had worked as a cook and farmer. Before joining the agency, he had never written a single copy. During his time with the agency, Ogilvy honed his skills as a copywriter. He later became the agency’s creative director.
Ogilvy had a flair for language and a strong visual sense. His copy was effective, and he extrapolated his knowledge of human behavior to create advertisements. He believed that the function of advertising was to sell. He conducted more than 400 public opinion surveys. He wrote three books. He published an autobiography in 1978.
During his career, David Ogilvy wrote some of the best advertising in the world, and his Rolls-Royce campaign stands out as a landmark in the history of advertising. Not only did the Rolls-Royce ad have the distinction of being the most important advertisement of the 20th century, it also won the coveted “best ad of all time” award.
During the post-war era in the US, luxury cars were a hot commodity. They claimed to be comfortable, elegant, and quick. But how could Ogilvy create an ad that truly enthralled his customers?
Ogilvy had a clear understanding of his target audience: the upper class. He knew that the best way to win them over was to find a unique selling proposition.
Ogilvy started with a thorough review of the auto industry. He read magazines like The Motor and Technical Editor. He also talked with engineers who worked on the cars. He concluded that the best ad for Rolls-Royce was the one that addressed a need that had been identified in the marketplace.
He also had to come up with a catchy title. After spending three weeks on the subject, he was able to craft a headline that would make the most sense to the audience.
The ad was also impressive on a technical level. It had the most important features, the best call-to-action, and a simple way to make a purchase.
David Ogilvy was also a master of copywriting. He was not only able to find the best headlines, but he also had a knack for speaking to his audiences in creative ways. His Rolls-Royce campaign helped increase Rolls-Royce sales by 50%.
It is no wonder that the Rolls-Royce ad is still considered to be the most important advertisement of all time. It made history, and it also taught the best practices of copywriting.
Considering the fact that the Rolls-Royce ad had a budget of just $25,000, it had to be an effective piece of marketing. David Ogilvy poured all of his talent into it, and the results were astounding. The ad was the first of its kind.
Influence on modern advertising
During the 1950s, a major advertising debate raged in the United States. The debate, involving the work of two advertising legends, was about the “hard sell” versus the “soft sell.” It was a matter of opinion. David Ogilvy and Rosser Reeves were considered polar opposites in advertising. Ogilvy was seen as being a “soft sell” and Reeves as a “hard sell.”
The debate centered on whether the basic selling proposition of an ad was more important than the style of the ad. Reeves claimed that the basic selling proposition was about 90% of the battle. Ogilvy believed that the style of the ad was less important.
Ogilvy and Reeves were also close friends. They worked together on non-agency projects. They were both businessmen, and their relationship provided insight into their work. Their approaches to advertising may be more connected than previously believed.
In the book Confessions of an Advertising Man, David Ogilvy explains his approach to advertising. He explains that he used consumer research and creativity to develop ads. He believed that every advertisement was a part of an investment in the personality of the brand. He said that a bad ad can actually decrease sales of a product. He also believed that advertising is salesmanship, and that the way to create successful advertisements was to understand and respect the consumer.
The book also reveals a lot about Ogilvy’s relationships with his family. Some of the personal letters reveal surprising facts about his family ties. This shows a closer relationship between Ogilvy and Reeves than is commonly thought.
Reeves and Ogilvy’s advertising philosophies were at the heart of the major debate of the 1950s. These documents also show that Ogilvy and Reeves shared many of the same principles.
Reeves and Ogilvy were considered rivals by industry press. However, they worked together in many ways. Their advertising philosophies may have been more connected than previously thought.
Both men worked on reviving the image of the advertising man. In 1963, Ogilvy published his book, Confessions of an Advertising Man. It was a success. It outlines the philosophy behind his work and gives advice on advertising campaigns.
Reputation as a master of image and brand recognition
During the early decades of the twentieth century, David Ogilvy was one of the most influential advertising men in America. Ogilvy eschewed the “hard sell” approach to advertising and focused instead on building brand recognition. He developed a method for creating a brand image that was enduring and appealing. Ogilvy’s work was influential and helped define a creative revolution in advertising in the 1960s.
One of the first successes for Ogilvy came from his work for a small Maine clothing company called Hathaway. The company was selling moderately priced shirts, and Ogilvy photographed a male model wearing a Hathaway shirt. The accompanying photograph proved to be a pivotal piece in the campaign’s success.
Ogilvy was also a great salesman. He was a master of the art of moving consumers with words and images. He also believed that consumers aren’t stupid. He preached the benefits of research and the value of long informative copy. His work often featured subtlety refined language and eye-catching people.
Hewitt, Ogilvy, Benson & Mather was founded by David Ogilvy and Anderson Hewitt in 1948. It became one of the largest advertising agencies in the United States, and was considered to be the leading creative agency of the 1960s. Ogilvy stepped down as the chairman of the WPP Group in London in 1992, and later served as a consultant for several major companies.
Ogilvy’s reputation as a master of image and brand recognition was founded on his Hathaway campaign. The campaign was the first to show how brands can be built through advertising.
In addition to his work for Hathaway, Ogilvy also worked for a British intelligence organization in the United States. This position taught him about the US market. He also developed his theories about advertising, which were later the foundation for his success.
Hewitt, Ogilvy, and Benson & Mather were also the driving force behind defining a “creative revolution” in American advertising in the 1960s. They helped shape a debate that continues today. Their work made them two of the most famous advertising men of the twentieth century.
While Ogilvy and Reeves enjoyed a professional relationship, they also found a degree of conflict in their work. Their advertising philosophies were at the center of a major debate in the 1950s.
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