Adland visionary David Ogilvy dead

By Stefano Hatfield,, Friday, 23 July 1999 12:00AM

David Ogilvy, the founder of Ogilvy & Mather and one of the men who shaped the modern advertising industry, died on Wednesday morning at his chateau in France. He was 88.

David Ogilvy, the founder of Ogilvy & Mather and one of the men who shaped the modern advertising industry, died on Wednesday morning at his chateau in France. He was 88.

Ogilvy set up the then Hewitt, Ogilvy, Benson & Mather in New York in 1948 aged 38. He had no clients and had never written an ad.

Building the agency on clients such as Lever Brothers, General Foods, Shell, Sears and American Express, Ogilvy created some of the most famous ads of all time, including ’The Man in the Hathaway Shirt’, ’Commander Schweppes’ and ’electric clock’ for Rolls Royce.

His books became industry standards: Confessions of an Advertising Man (1963), David Ogilvy: An Autobiography (1978) and Ogilvy on Advertising (1983).

Quotations such as ’the consumer is not a moron, she is your wife’, ’you cannot bore people into buying your product, you can only interest them in buying it’ and ’never run an advertisement you would not want your own family to see’ increased his fame beyond the advertising industry.

He became a Commander of the British Empire in 1967. In 1965, Ogilvy merged his agency with Mather & Crowther, his London backers, to create an international force. A year later the company became one of the first advertising agencies to go public.

In 1973, Ogilvy retired as chairman of Ogilvy & Mather, briefly returning to public prominence in 1989 when O&M was acquired by Martin Sorrell’s WPP for dollars 864 million. Ogilvy was subsequently non-executive chairman of WPP for three years.

Sorrell commented: ’There are very few people in the world who made such an impact on our industry. David ranks with the very greatest – Bill Bernbach, Raymond Rubicam, Leo Burnett, Stanley Resor, James Webb Young and perhaps a very few others.

"No other Briton has made or will make such an impact on our business as David did. Not only because of his thinking in relation to advertising and the importance of strategic thinking, creative execution and effective work - but also because there, in his remarkable books, is further evidence of his breadth of vision and foresight.

"David foresaw the development of the new technologies which are having such an important influence on our business today.’

Shelly Lazarus, chief executive of O&M Worldwide, added: "It’s the passing of a giant. He was larger than life but had a great humanity. He was so wise and kind and one of the most remarkable men I have ever met.’

Ogilvy is survived by his wife, Herta, and son, David.

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