Reminiscences of David Ogilvy
He was very cultured, unlike most people in marketing today. He had a good knowledge of music and art. He had an eye for new ideas. Most people lose this sense of enquiry quite early on; once they succeed to a certain degree they feel no need to keep learning and collapse into happy sloth.
He used to send me things to comment on, including the proofs of “Maxi-Marketing” by Stan Rapp and Tom Collins. He asked for my opinion and later wrote a recommendation for it.
He also sent me a newsletter by Gary Halbert, the copywriter, asking what I thought about that.
6. He was never too proud to seek criticism
After drafting "Ogilvy on Advertising," he sent it to Joel Raphaelson [Executive Creative Director of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide] with the note: “Dear Joel, Kindly improve. D. O.”
When planning a speech about direct marketing, he sent me the draft for comment.
7. He was fun
I used to go around making a lot of speeches—still do.
David rang me one day saying, “Why do you go around the world making all these speeches—giving away our secrets?”
I replied, “You’ve been doing it for years—decades—and they still can’t do what you do. You can talk till you’re blue in the face, but people won’t know how to do what you can do.”
And I quoted Kipling: “They copied all they could follow but they couldn't copy my mind.”
He never forgot this. He rang me at home one day saying, “Hello, David here. Just back from making another speech, are we?”
8. He could be very sly
After I sold my business to Ogilvy, their London advertising agency asked me to review some copy for the World Wildlife Fund.