Ad agency legend David Ogilvy dies

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Agency founder and advertising pioneer David Ogilvy, 88, died July 21 at his home in Touffou, France, after a long illness.

Mr. Ogilvy was one of the giants who helped shape an industry that until he arrived lacked respectability. He created such well-known work as "Commander Whitehead" for Schweppes and a Rolls-Royce ad with the tag "At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock." He also was known for pithy observations about advertising, such as "The consumer is not a moron, she is your wife" and "You cannot bore people into buying your product, you can only interest them in buying it."

Shelly Lazarus, chairman-CEO of New York-based Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, the agency Mr. Ogilvy co-founded, sent an internal memo to staffers this morning praising his accomplishments and achievements. She wrote: "We are a clan brought together by David's ideas, by his personal commitment and his inspiration....David wrote instructions many years ago on how his death was to be managed. Above all, these instructions insisted there be no mourning. No black, no sadness, no pomp nor circumstance. Nor should there be. Is there any tribute that we could offer greater than the testimony of his own life?" Mr. Ogilvy was born in West Horsley, England, on June 23, 1911. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1938 and a year later began working at George Gallup's Audience Research Institute. During World War II, he served as second secretary to the British Embassy in Washington. After the war, he became a farmer, living among the Amish in Lancaster, Pa.

Mr. Ogilvy started Hewitt, Ogilvy, Benson & Mather in 1948. Some of the earliest clients, including Lever Bros., General Foods Corp. and American Express Co., are still with the agency today.

A private burial will be held July 23 at the family estate, with a memorial service planned in New York for early fall. Mr. Ogilvy is survived by his wife, Herta Ogilvy; his son David Fairfield Ogilvy and daughter-in-law Cookie Ogilvy; and three stepgrandsons.

Copyright July 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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