Legendary Copywriter Steve Hayden Retires From Ogilvy

Co-Creator of Apple's '1984' Led IBM at Agency

By Published on .

WPP's Ogilvy today revealed that Vice Chairman Steve Hayden retired just before Christmas. Mr. Hayden had been with the agency since late 1994 and is probably best known for the famous "1984" TV spot that he TBWA's Lee Clow created for Apple .

Steve Hayden
Steve Hayden

Mr. Hayden got his start in the ad business as a copywriter for General Motors. Before joining Ogilvy in 1994, he spent time at TBWA/Chiat/Day and BBDO . At both agencies, he was responsible for creative advertising for Apple . Moving to Ogilvy, he worked with an Apple competitor, leading the agency's all-important IBM account. He has also been behind efforts for a number of other clients, including Motorola, American Express and Cisco.

Below, read the memo that Ogilvy leaders Miles Young and Shelly Lazarus wrote about Mr. Hayden, and shared with staff today.

We knew this day would come. We tried not to think about it. And then on Dec. 24, after 18 glorious years leading this agency, creating remarkable work that drove clients' businesses and mentoring us all Steve Hayden retired.

Steve's contributions have been enormous. He joined us at a time when we were young in our relationship with IBM. He was a legend when he came (thank you, Steve, for saying yes and coming East in the first place) and went on to do legendary work for IBM. He was central to one of the great brand transformations in history; and he made history for Ogilvy in the process.

But Steve has been about so much more than IBM. He was there in the lead when we won Motorola, SAP, Cisco, UPS, Lenovo, AT&T Wireless. And continued on, leading these businesses, along with so many others. Steve is tireless. He never said "no" when anyone needed help. He dove right in, no matter how much was already on his plate. In this past year, he has been involved with so many clients we almost forgot about Dec. 24.

Steve is wise and warm and kind. He has spent a career attracting talent and developing talent; and Ogilvy has been the beneficiary.

Steve is humble to a fault. That is why we will find occasions over the coming months to celebrate Steve, to tell him what his presence has meant to this agency, to each of us individually. We are planning an evening during our Board meeting in May in Brazil that will be all about Steve. Between now and then, feel free to tell Steve individually what he has meant to you.

Ogilvy is where we are today because of Steve Hayden. We stand on his shoulders. We can never thank him adequately. But we can acknowledge all he has meant and ensure that every one understands the central role he has played in the history of this agency.

Steve, you are a legend and a wonder. How lucky we are to have had you as our leader all these years.

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