|Jock Elliott, the former chairman of Ogilvy & Mather, is dead.
Widely revered for his quiet wit and abilities as a public speaker, Mr. Elliott joined Ogilvy & Mather in 1960 and ascended the agency’s ranks, becoming chairman of the agency’s U.S. operations in 1965 and, 10 years later, chairman of Ogilvy’s international division. He succeeded agency founder David Ogilvy in 1975.
First job: copywriter
Mr. Elliott served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II and then started in advertising. His first job was as a copywriter earning $60 a week at Batten, Barton, Durstine and Osborn, the agency that became BBDO Worldwide. He moved into account management, an area he described as “less demanding” than copywriting, after concluding he was not great as a copywriter.
“I was pretty good,” he once told Ogilvy employees, “but not good enough. I could execute campaigns but I never came up with the big ideas. ... I have stood in awe of people who could come up with big campaign ideas.”
Helped win Shell Oil account
His reputation as an account manager caught the interest of Mr. Ogilvy, who had hired Mr. Elliott in 1960 to win Ogilvy’s then-biggest account, Shell Oil.
“Jock ran Shell brilliantly -- some very memorable advertising was made under his stewardship -- and then he ran the company, allowing his partner David Ogilvy great freedom to be creative chief and to move into retirement. Much is known of David’s great leadership, but Jock also put an indelible mark on our company,” Ogilvy Chairman-CEO Shelly Lazarus said in a memo to her staff sent today. Ogilvy is now owned by WPP Group.
Mr. Elliott retired from Ogilvy in 1982.
Mr. Elliott was born in New York in 1921. His father was an investment counselor and his mother sold real estate. He was educated at private institutions including the Browning School, St. Paul’s School in Concord, N.H., and Harvard University.
Love of Christmas
In addition to his career in advertising, Mr. Elliott was an avid collector of books about Christmas and its customs. The oldest item in his collection, according to a 1999 story in The New York Times, was a leaf from a Book of Hours from 1430, printed before the invention of movable type, that showed the Adoration of the Magi. Mr. Osborn told the reporter of his six-foot-long stocking, which his wife, Eleanor, “fills up with underwear,” and his tradition of reading “The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver” every Christmas to her. “We go to sleep with a warm heart and a moist eye,” he said. Four years later, his book, Inventing Christmas, was published.
His survivors include his wife, Eleanor Thomas Elliott, his brother Osborn and numerous nieces and nephews. The funeral will be held Nov. 2 at 3 p.m. at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in New York.