In 1948, David Ogilvy founded the agency that would become Ogilvy & Mather. Starting with no clients and a staff of two, he built his company into one of the eight largest advertising networks in the world. Today it has more than 450 offices in 169 cities.
Our history is the evolution of one man's thoughts, talents, and work ethic translated into a company culture, a defining business strategy, a destiny.
From the very beginning, David Ogilvy intended to have a different kind of company. He knew that if he was going to be successful as an expatriate running an under-capitalized offshoot of an old British firm in the country that invented modern advertising (in the city that was its epicenter), he would need to build a strong agency brand. The first two fundamental components of that brand would be the quality and diversity of the people, and the quality and class of the operation. "Only first class business, and that in a first class way."
The third component was his belief in brands. "Every advertisement is part of the long-term investment in the personality of the brand."
David worked relentlessly to instill the belief that our job is to make advertising that sells, and the advertising that sells best is advertising that builds brands. We practice what he preached. Over the past 60 years, Ogilvy has helped to build some of the most recognizable brands in the world: American Express, Sears, Ford, Shell, Barbie, Pond's, Dove, and Maxwell House among them, and more recently, IBM and Kodak.
Adroitly combining the pragmatic with the romantic, David Ogilvy's copywriting was at the heart of many of advertising's most famous campaigns, including perhaps the best-known headline ever written for an automobile ad: "At 60 miles an hour, the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock."
David firmly believed that the function of advertising is to sell, and that successful advertising for any product is based on information about its consumer. His copy was written to sell products, and it followed the basic rules of advertising: research and position the product, develop a brand image, and have a big idea.