Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy

During his heyday, David Ogilvy was one of the best marketers in the world. As the CEO of his own advertising agency, he helped create some of the most memorable ad campaigns of all time. His early career saw him work for several brands including Sears. He went on to become a well-known author, a founding member of the Advertising Club of New York and the first president of the American Association of Advertising Agencies.


David Ogilvy is a British advertising executive and one of the most influential people in the field. His work helped to develop the creative revolution that took place in the 50s and 60s.

Ogilvy first worked for his brother’s ad agency in London. Then, he went to Paris and began an apprenticeship at the Hotel Majestic. He was then hired by Mather & Crowther. After three years, he moved to New York City.

While working for an advertising agency, he met and befriended celebrities such as Cary Grant. In fact, Ogilvy’s fame was so great that his agency was able to secure huge accounts, including Shell and Sears.

David Ogilvy was inducted into the US Advertising Hall of Fame in 1977. He also served as a trustee for the World Wildlife Fund.

Ogilvy and his wife had a son. Their marriage ended in divorce, and he married Ann Cabot. However, he continued to keep close ties with the company.

During World War II, Ogilvy was a spy for the British military intelligence. He was trained in sabotage and close combat. It was during this time that he wrote his manual on sales practices.

After retiring as chairman of Ogilvy & Mather, he remained active as an advisor. Among his many accomplishments, he was responsible for the launch of Rolls-Royce, which doubled its sales in the US in 1958. He was also involved with the acquisition of Shell Oil.

He also wrote several books, which have been widely regarded as influential. Six of his books received a 70% or higher five-star rating from reviewers.

David Ogilvy died on July 21, 1999 near Bonnes, France. He is survived by his son, David Fairfield Ogilvy.

Early life

David Ogilvy was an advertising genius and ad man. He had a number of accomplishments, including being a spy for the British military intelligence during World War II.

In his autobiography, ‘Confessions of an Advertising Man’, David Ogilvy traces his career. The book is considered one of the best books on advertising. It contains detailed instructions for producing good television commercials.

At age 24, Ogilvy worked as a salesman for Aga cookers. He wrote a salesman’s manual for the company. Fortune magazine named the manual the best sales manual ever written.

Ogilvy became famous for his ads. His “Rolls-Royce” tagline increased Rolls-Royce’s American sales by double digits.

He served as Chairman of the United Negro College Fund, and chaired the Public Participation Committee at the Lincoln Center in Manhattan. He also served as a trustee on the Executive Council of the World Wildlife Fund. A biography of him was written by Kenneth Roman, who called it the “King of Madison Avenue.”

After Ogilvy left his ad firm, he took a job as a spy for the British military intelligence. His boss was Sir William Stephenson. As a spy, Ogilvy’s mission was to prevent the enemy from gaining access to strategic materials in Latin America. During the last year of the war, his suggestions were picked up by Eisenhower’s Psychological Warfare Board.

Despite his success, Ogilvy found his work draining. He decided to retire in 1973. But in the 1980s, he came out of retirement. In addition to his fame, Ogilvy was known for his stylish ads.

Ogilvy was a member of the Advertising Hall of Fame. He was also inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 1979.

Confessions of an Advertising Man

Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy is a great read for anyone interested in advertising. It covers a variety of topics including corporate culture, leadership and advertising techniques. The book is also a good read for social media enthusiasts.

One of the most notable chapters is about the importance of social proof. According to Ogilvy, this is a good thing to remember. Rather than relying on a single piece of information, it is better to spread out your message across several sources.

Another interesting chapter is about copywriting in printed media. Although it is an important aspect of advertising, it is a complicated subject.

Ogilvy explains how to use a 3-pronged approach to marketing. He points out the advantages of content marketing, social proof and a softer approach to advertising.

Ogilvy also points out that being a guru in your field is a good thing. He advises businesses to tolerate genius, to hire people who are genuinely interested in the product, and to put the best people in the position to serve the client.

While it is easy to get caught up in the latest trends in advertising, it is still best to keep your eyes on the ball. This includes a careful inspection of every campaign that leaves the agency.

Ogilvy also discusses the virtues of being honest. This is a good way to establish trust between the agency and the client. Using an honest advertising campaign will result in better business results.

Ogilvy says that photographs work much better than paintings. People are more likely to buy a product if it has a photo of a person.

Sears’ first national ad

Sears’ first national ad campaign was designed by David Ogilvy and his agency. They aimed to capture the attention of women and other customers.

The ads were effective, according to a USA Today survey. Twenty-four percent of respondents said they liked the campaign. Other comments suggested that the slogans weren’t memorable.

In the 1980s, Sears faced a number of challenges. It began to compete with other discount stores and department stores. The company also faced increasing competition from specialty stores.

Sears also started to shift its focus toward family shopping in the 1980s. However, its advertising was still focused on women. This was because women were the primary shoppers for the entire family.

The Sears advertising effort included print, television and radio spots. During the holiday season, millions of Wish Book catalogs were mailed. As a result, the company gained a lot of recognition among the public.

The company also targeted Hispanic consumers with its “Todo para ti” campaign. This campaign included promotional material and articles in the Spanish-language magazine Nuestra Gente.

Sears mailed more than 150 million Wish Book catalogs during the holidays. The campaign was an effort to promote the company’s ability to meet all of the needs of the home.

The campaign included 40 television spots during the 2001 holiday season. Sears used an eclectic approach to advertising, aiming to appeal to all of the above.

The campaign changed Sears’ image. While the company was once known for its high-end clothing, the company started to focus more on modern home furnishings and apparel.

While the “Softer Side of Sears” campaign failed to turn the company around, it had a lasting impact on the company. It encouraged customers to consider Sears for women’s clothing.


There are a number of publications highlighting the life and legacy of David Ogilvy. He’s known as the “father of advertising,” but he had a much more varied life than just an advertising pioneer. Throughout his career, he helped shape a potent, empathetic selling style.

Before he opened his own ad agency in 1948, he worked for Mather & Crowther. His first job was as an apprentice chef at the Majestic Hotel in Paris. From there, he was a kitchen assistant and stove salesman at various hotels and restaurants in England and France.

By his early thirties, he had moved to New York, where he worked for George Gallup. He had a brief stint at the British Embassy Intelligence Service in Washington DC during World War II. During that time, he was also an account executive with the Maine Shirt Company.

At Mather & Crowther, he wrote copy and sales manuals. A client liked his work so much that he asked Ogilvy to move to London to help run their office.

Upon his return to New York, Ogilvy started his own advertising company. He was able to hire just two people, but the firm quickly grew to 132 offices in 83 countries. Eventually, he became the Chairman of the firm.

Despite retiring in 1973, Ogilvy was in touch with the firm. In the 1980s, he made an appearance at company gatherings. Then, in 2012, WPP launched the David agency.

Today, DAVID has six offices in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Brazil. It’s part of the Ogilvy creative network, and has won a record-breaking 27 Cannes Lions. They’ve also won a triple crown at Clio, which is the industry’s most prestigious award.

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