English-born advertising copywriter and executive. In 1948 he founded the advertising agency that became Ogilvy & Mather in New York City. Ogilvy devised famous advertisements such as the ‘Man In The Hathaway Shirt’. He retired to France in 1973, resigning as the chair of Ogilvy & Mather in 1973, and the Ogilvy Group in 1992. He published Confessions Of An Advertising Man (1963), his autobiography Blood, Beer and Brains (1978), and Ogilvy On Advertising (1983).
Ogilvy founded his advertising agency with a staff of two. He became famous for stylish and cohesive marketing campaigns for UK clients – including ‘The Man From Schweppes Is Here’ – and later attracted major US advertisers such as American Express and Campbell Soups. The company, which he merged with Mather & Crowther in 1965 in order to get representation in European markets, went public in 1966.
Ogilvy was born in West Horsley, Surrey, England, the son of a Scottish stockbroker. He was educated at Fettes College, Edinburgh, Scotland, and was a scholar of Oxford University, England. In 1931 he went to Paris, France, to become a chef at the Hotel Majestic. His brother, who managed the London advertising agency Mather & Crowther, later found him a job selling Aga cookers back in England.
He settled in New York in 1938 and worked for US pollster George Gallup, undertaking opinion research about the Hollywood film industry. From the outbreak of World War II he was an adviser to the UK Government on US popular opinion and was recruited into the British Intelligence Service in 1941. After the war he declined a permanent position and bought a farm in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, before founding his own advertising agency in 1948.
In 1989 Martin Sorrell of Wire & Plastics Products (WPP) launched a hostile takeover bid (worth nearly $900 million) for the company. Ogilvy accepted the non-executive chairmanship of WPP (until 1992).
Ogilvy, David (Mackenzie)