David Ogilvy

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David Ogilvy

David Mackenzie Ogilvy (June 23, 1911July 21, 1999) executive who was widely hailed as "The Father of Advertising". In 1962, Time called him "the most sought-after wizard in today's advertising industry". He founded Ogilvy & Mather.


  • At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock.
    • Source: Rolls-Royce print ad, 1958. This is sometimes referred to as the most famous headline in advertising history.
  • When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it "creative". I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product. When Aeschines spoke, they said, "How well he speaks". When Demosthenes spoke, they said, "Let us march against Philip."
    • Ogilvy on Advertising, p. 7
  • … there are now unmistakeable signs of a trend in favor of superior products at premium prices. The consumer is not a moron, she is your wife.
    • Ogilvy on Advertising, p. 170
  • Always hold your sales meetings in rooms too small for the audience, even if it means holding them in the WC. 'Standing room only' creates an atmosphere of success, as in theatres and restaurants, while a half-empty auditorium smells of failure.
    • Ogilvy on Advertising, p. 172
  • Viewers have a way of remembering the celebrity while forgetting the product. I did not know this when I paid Eleanor Roosevelt $35,000 to make a commercial for margarine. She reported that her mail was equally divided. "One half was sad because I had damaged my reputation. The other half was happy because I had damaged my reputation." Not one of my proudest memories.
    • Ogilvy on Advertising, p. 109
  • When someone is made the head of an office in the Ogilvy & Mather chain, I send him a Matrioshka doll from Gorky. If he has the curiosity to open it, and keep opening it until he comes to the inside of the smallest doll, he finds this message: If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.
    • Ogilvy on Advertising, p. 47
  • Never Write an Advertisement Which You Wouldn't Want Your Own Family To Read. You wouldn't tell lies to your own wife. Don't tell them to mine. Do as you would be done by.
    • Confessions of an Advertising Man, p. 87 (Ballantine Books)
  • The consumer isn't a moron; she is your wife. You insult her intelligence if you assume that a mere slogan and a few vapid adjectives will persuade her to buy anything. She wants all the information you can give her.
    • Confessions of an Advertising Man, p. 96 (Ballantine Books)
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