Born June 23, 1911, advertising great David Ogilvy (1911-1998), would have turned 100 this year.
His life story reads like a movie. Born in England, he was an indifferent student at Oxford and dropped out. He found work as a sous chef at the Hotel Majestic, at the time the best kitchen in Paris. Then off to Scotland to sell Aga Cookers, the Rolls-Royce of cooking stoves, door to door at the depths of the Depression. Then he tried an apprenticeship in his brother’s ad agency in London followed by a trip to America and a job with George Gallup doing research on the movie business in Hollywood. At the start of World War II, Ogilvy worked for the British Secret Service in New York under Sir William Stephenson, the model for agent 007. Unsure what to do at the end of the war, he became a farmer in Amish country in Pennsylvania. During that time he read every advertising book he could find. Then, at 38, with his only experience being the brief time at his brother’ company, he opened an agency to compete with the great New York agencies. Within 10 years he was the most talked about person on Madison Avenue. In 1964 he published his iconic Confessions of an Advertising Man. It is the best-selling advertising book of all time. Read the entire fascinating article here.