David Ogilvy, the genius who revolutionized advertising

My company is not selling, it is in crisis, I need an advertising campaign to turn its fortunesaround.”

So began the client, on the phone with the owner of a small New York advertising agency in 1951. A very normal request for an advertising firm, you might think. The client in question, however, is the founder of the CF Hathaway Company, a shirt manufacturer. The agency is that of David Ogilvy himself. Their upcoming campaign would radically transform not only the future of Hewitt Ogilvy Benson & Mather, but that of advertising communications worldwide.

Although his is still a small agency with few clients, Ogilvy is about to turn down the assignment. Curbing his enthusiasm was a phrase from shirt patron Hathaway: “I want to spend as little as possible!” A legitimate client request, but one that would necessarily have limited the campaign’s chances of success.

Then, a second sentence makes the publicist light up: “You can do whatever you want to promote my shirts with this advertisement.” David Ogilvy realizes that he could give full rein to his creativity. Job accepted.

Thus began the photo shoots for the advertising campaign. The protagonist is a distinguished and elegant man, who obviously wears a signature Hathaway shirt. Yet, there is something that still does not convince Ogilvy fully. Suddenly, the flash of genius.

The publicist gives the model a monocular eye patch, just like the one worn by pirates, and asks him to continue the shots with one eye covered. The idea is brilliant. The image of the handsome man in shirt and blindfold appears in the
New Yorker
for several weeks and remains, even in later years, a cult favorite.

David Ogilvy’s genius is all encapsulated here. With a thorough understanding of the market, trends, the preferences of your audience, and a dash of creativity, you can do great things.
Even on a shoestring budget

From that day, the small Hewitt Ogilvy Benson & Mather advertising agency became the most important agency in New York. A real revolution for the advertising world–and also for Hathaway shirts.

Even today, advertising genius David Ogilvy is considered one of the most influential figures in the field of communications. His campaigns that have gone down in history include advertisements for the
and for the brand
, just to name a few. His style and creativity broke the rules of what until then had been the predominant communication style in advertising.

Ogilvy’s advertising, in fact, is not only born of imagination and brilliance. His projects are rooted in deep market research and analysis of consumer tastes. A calibrated mix of creativity, scholarship and pragmatism.

Through this recipe, David Ogilvy became the father of brand image. That is, the concept that not so much the product itself, but more importantly the brand and its image have the power to convey users, thus influencing consumer decision making.

It is also by taking up David Ogilvy’s philosophy of advertising that MeRcomm studies the
communication strategies
for its clients. Not focusing solely on the products, but providing a 360-degree restyling of the brand that markets them.

Authority, an eye-catching graphic showcase, highly identifiable communication, and a customized and functional digital toolkit. These are the ingredients of every single project of our web agency. All this, always tailor-made, responding to the needs of the target market and calibrating actions to the client’s budget.

One of Ogilvy’s most famous phrases reads:

I do not consider advertising as entertainment or an art form, but as a medium of information. When I write an ad, I don’t want to be told that it is creative. I want it to be found so interesting that it will sell the product“.

Together, we can do great things your business. Come and meet us and tell us your story-we will be your voice!

Image Credits: Creative Commons License CC0 1.0

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