One of my biggest inspirations is David Ogilvy, a little known pioneer in business who is credited as the Father of Advertising. An Englishman by origin, he moved to New York City and started Ogilvy & Mather with the backing of agencies in London. Ogilvy & Mather became one of the most successful ad agencies started in the 20th century working with clients such as Volkswagen, IBM, and Dove to name a few.
David Ogilvy is known best for his dedication to sales, creativity, and above all, the consumer. Although overshadowed by his advertising prowess, he also had an exceptional leadership philosophy. Throughout his career he worked as a chef, salesman, researcher, and entrepreneur with a short stint at the British Intelligence Agency during World War II. His storied career path gave him valuable insights that contributed to his successful career in advertising.
Below you’ll find some of my favorite quotes from David Ogilvy as well as one of my favorite videos from the man himself. While he has long since passed away, his wisdom is always timely.
“The consumer isn’t a moron, she’s your wife.”
“Every advertisement is an investment in the personality of your brand”
“Our business is infested with idiots who try to impress by using pretentious jargon.”
“Do not address your readers as though they were gathered together in a stadium. When people read your copy, they are alone. Pretend you are writing to each of them a letter on behalf of your client.”
“Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it. Look for people who will aim for the remarkable, who will not settle for the routine.”
“You can never spend too much time thinking about, worrying about, caring about your people, because at the end of the day, it’s only the people who matter. Nothing else.”
“In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you create.”
“Big ideas come from the unconscious. This is true in art, in science, and in advertising. But your unconscious has to be well informed, or your idea will be irrelevant. Stuff your conscious mind with information, then unhook your rational thought process. You can help this process by going for a long walk, or taking a hot bath, or drinking half a pint of claret. Suddenly, if the telephone line from your unconscious is open, a big idea wells up within you.”
That said–be bold, be brave, don’t bunt; be more ambitious.