Ogilvy, David Mackenzie

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Ogilvy, David Mackenzie

David Mackenzie Ogilvy, 1911–99, British-American advertising executive. He was a chef in Paris and a door-to-door salesman before entering advertising, becoming an account executive in Britain and, after emigrating in 1938, America. Ogilvy worked for the George Gallup polling institute, an experience he credited with teaching him about Americans and research, and after serving in World War II, he cofounded (1948) a New York City advertising agency, which ultimately became Ogilby & Mather. He remained its chairman until 1973. Ogilvy, who began a creative revolution in advertising in the 1960s, maintained that consumers were intelligent and could be won over by a soft sell and an imaginative approach. A superb copywriter, he advocated advertising that contained a "big idea," engendered brand loyalty, and thoroughly supplied information about the product. He wrote Confessions of an Advertising Man (1963), the autobiography Blood, Brains and Beer (1978, repr. 1997 as An Autobiography), and On Advertising (1983).

See K. Roman, The King of Madison Avenue (2009).

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