Martin Sorrell, chief executive, WPP Group
Perhaps the best way to remember David is the way he wanted to be remembered. In December 1996, at the age of 85, he wrote, "Horace wrote my epitaph, and Dryden translated it into English: 'Happy the man, and happy he alone,/He who can call today his own;/He who, secure within, can say,/Tomorrow, do thy worst, for I have liv'd today.' "
Jock Elliott, former chairman of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide (previously known as Ogilvy & Mather International)
In 1975, David said to me "How about you take over as chairman of international and I'll be the creative director?" So we did. . . . He was more interested in copywriting and the creative. He liked to think of himself as a copywriter first and a teacher second.
One of the things he did even though he had such a strong personality himself was to realize he had to institutionalize the agency. He brought along me and Bill and Shelly Lazarus. But he made sure there was a legacy. . . . The advertising he did was marked by civility and intelligence. He always treated consumers, men and women, as intelligent people.
Joel Raphaelson, former creative director and senior VP-international creative service, Ogilvy & Mather
He showed remarkable behavior when he turned over the chairmanship. . . . The common pattern in the advertising business is for a strong founder to do one of two things: either to disassociate himself completely from the company once he leaves, the way Raymond Rubicam did, or to hang on indefinitely, the way Leo Burnett did, so there's a huge vacuum after he leaves. David Ogilvy did neither. He genuinely turned over the day-to-day management and yet stayed very much connected. He described himself as the "holy spook" of the company and functioned in that way for 15 or 20 years quite effectively. It was an unusual performance.
Mary Wells Lawrence, legendary founder of Wells, Rich, Greene
He came on in the '50s, when advertising was at its absolute worst. In America after the war, people were looking for safety and security. David was really the first light. He was the first one that got the attention of major advertisers-the man in the Hathaway shirt, Rolls-Royce. He established a kind of elegance in advertising that broke through in its own way. . . . He really appreciated what he had. He was a totally alive, positive man. He thought life was to be conquered. . . . He was just wonderful.
Bill Phillips, former chairman-CEO, Ogilvy Group
David was a student of advertising. He really believed in advertising that sells. He also pioneered the idea of a brand image.
He worked very hard. One Monday morning he sent a memo around to all the international managers. It said something like "This weekend I put 384 pieces of paper in my outbox. My, there's a lot of paper out there."
David was a leader and set a good example. . . . [He] used to have a group of Russian dolls that he would put all around the table at a meeting. We would open them and open them and open them, and finally we'd get to the smallest doll and a piece of paper. On the paper, it said, "If we all hire people smaller than us, we'll become dwarfs. If we all hire someone bigger than us, we'll become giants. David was a giant."
Shelly Lazarus, chairman-CEO, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide
The outpouring has been so incredible. I keep thinking to myself that David would be so pleased to see how much people cared. . . . He had an enormous interest in people. But he wasn't interested because of the title they had or the role they played. They could be at any level. He used to come by and talk to me when I was an account executive. He used to have lunch with a woman at OgilvyOne who was an account supervisor. He was the ultimate democrat in that sense.
One time he came into a meeting and he walked in and all the seats were taken. So David just sat down on the floor. Everyone else was horrified, but David just said I'm fine down here. He had such a sense of who he was, he didn't need any of the ceremony or trappings. . . .
I was with him one night and he ate mayonnaise for dinner. Another time he was hosting a dinner party for about 20 people at a hotel. And they kept bringing courses for him and David kept rejecting them. Finally he said, "You know, if you could just bring me some of those little jars of jelly." You know, the kind they serve at breakfast. The staff was appalled; he was the host and they knew he was famous. They insisted on bringing toast with it. All around him people were eating chateaubriand and fancy dishes and David ate the jelly with a spoon right out of the jar. . . .
Keith Reinhard, chairman-CEO, DDB Worldwide
He was the last of the three giants. I admire so much about what he did and said. He was a wonderful salesman. He understood salesmanship and he was one of the best. He was great for "How to" headlines. His books were filled with "How to" chapters.
He recommended that all copywriters read the book "The Art of Plain Talk" so they would use short, one-syllable words. That's still good advice for today's copywriters, especially in the technological era. . . .
He was a genius, but I didn't agree with him on everything. He said copywriters had to resist the temptation to entertain, but then he talked Eleanor Roosevelt into doing a margarine commercial. . . . He had great taste, style.
Ken Roman, former chairman-CEO, Ogilvy Group
He built an institution at Ogilvy & Mather that people thought was interesting and special, and [it] endured long after he left. The culture of Ogilvy & Mather was what people really recognized. . . .
He initiated some of the most important developments in the history of this business. The use of research was a major contribution on his watch. . . . the professional disciplines, the strategies, the emphasis on results. . . .
He also had a great sense of humor and a really big ego-a huge ego. One time the directors . . . were meeting after [what was then Ogilvy & Mather International] had bought Scali, McCabe, Sloves and Cole & Weber, and someone suggested that we ought to consider changing the name of the holding company. David looked across the table at the directors and said, "That's a terrible mistake to change the company's name. I'll fight it with every breath. But if you do change it, you don't need Mather." Soon after, the holding company's name changed to Ogilvy Group. . . . He was a colorful, dramatic, interesting man.
Charlotte Beers, chairman, J. Walter Thompson Co.; former chairman-CEO, Ogilvy & Mather
Sometimes I give talks about how to make yourself heard. And I always think about him because David was the most hear-able person there was. . . .
I interviewed with David before I took the job at Ogilvy. He decided I should stay at an inn near his Paris apartment. It was raining and took me all day to get there. So he said why don't you go change and drop off your bags before we go to dinner? So I was walking through the rain on these cobblestone streets, tired and carrying my luggage and I thought to myself, "This is the glamorous life?"
Rick Boyko, co-chairman and chief creative officer, Ogilvy & Mather, New York
I really got to spend time with him when I put together the retrospective of his life for his 85th birthday. Charlotte [Beers] had us put it together, and then we went to his chateau in Touffou to give it to him. After he saw the film, he asked who did it. I then got to sit next to him during dinner.
It's unfortunate, but on the 15th of August we're going to debut a new signature and logo that is actually his signature. . . . We were hoping it would be a