David Ogilvy

(1911—1999) advertising executive

Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

Co-founder of Ogilvy and Mather, Ogilvy emphasized fact-based advertising. His agency created powerful ads distinguished by graceful, sensible copy that respected the consumers' intelligence. His major campaigns were for Hathaway shirts, Shell Oil, Sears, KLM, American Express, International Paper, IBM, Schweppes tonic water, Rolls-Royce, and Pepperidge Farm. Ogilvy pioneered a fee system, as opposed to commissions, which changed the economics of the advertising industry. Ogilvy's most celebrated publication, Confessions of an Advertising Man (1963), contains 11 perennial points of advice on how to build great advertising campaigns:

1 What you say is more important than how you say it;

2 Unless your campaign is built around a great idea, it will flop;

3 Give the facts;

4 You cannot bore people into buying;

5 Be well mannered, but don't clown;

6 Make your advertising contemporary;

7 Committees can criticize advertisements, but they cannot write them;

8 If you are lucky enough to write a good advertisement, repeat it until it stops pulling;

9 Never write an advertisement that you wouldn't want your own family to read;

10 The image and the brand (every advertisement should contribute to the brand image);

11 Don't be a copy cat.

From A Dictionary of Marketing in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Marketing.

Reference entries

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.