The late David Ogilvy, renowned as the "Father of Advertising," celebrated his seventh death anniversary on July 21 this year. It is only fitting that we pay tribute to this legend whose original thinking and insistence on advertising basics transformed Madison Avenue in the 1960s and 1970s.
Ogilvy is recognized for his creative genius, but perhaps his greatest contribution to advertising is his formula for creating great advertising campaigns, which is still widely practiced today. At a time when advertising was all about creativity and artistic flair, Ogilvy labored to put science into his craft. He championed the use of four basic principles in the process of creating advertising campaign. These are a dependence on research, professional discipline, creative brilliance and a preeminent regard for delivering results to clients.
Many other great advertising practitioners patterned themselves after Ogilvy, who held the strong belief that an advertising man should be well-rounded and be the product of many influences. He was perhaps the best example of this belief. After all, diversity runs in his blood. Ogilvy was the son of a classics scholar and a financial broker, and he also worked as a chef, researcher, farmer and door-to-door salesman for cooking stoves. He was so good at selling stoves that the company he worked for asked him to write an instruction manual for other salesmen. He also worked as a chef, researcher and farmer.
Among the many great and memorably advertising campaigns that Ogilvy created are the ones for Hathaway shirts, Schweppes, Rolls-Royce and Shell. He also had some controversial tendencies, especially early in his career. Did you know that his first advertising effort showed a naked woman? Ogilvy admitted later that this ad embarrassed him, but he continued to believe that non-traditional approaches such as nudity have their place in advertising.
Part of the Ogilvy legend is the way he got his start in advertising. An older brother, Francis, used to work in the London ad agency Mather & Crowther. Francis showed his bosses the instruction manual that David had written. The big bosses were suitably impressed. In fact, they were so impressed that they quickly offered David a job in the agency. And, as the old cliché goes, the rest is history.