We’d like to start with this interesting question: Does good advertising represent the current culture, or is current culture a reflection of advertising? 

David Ogilvy
Image credit: Ogilvy & Mather

The preceding question is what made David Ogilvy successful. No, he didn’t ask the question. We did, but David Ogilvy was a stickler for emphasizing research and data, which informed him how he would gear his advertising campaigns.

Another genius move that Ogilvy is responsible for is focusing on the consumer, not the product. He understood the importance of knowing your target audience’s needs, wants, and desires that speak to them directly when creating compelling advertising campaigns. Another powerful technique he used was compelling storytelling. He was a genius.

All this data about the target audience requires research, yet Ogilvy was the first to do this; it makes you wonder what other advertising agencies were doing before Ogilvy came along. Well, the other advertising agencies stayed generic, but in 1948, Ogilvy started his advertising agency, Ogilvy & Mather, known as the most successful and largest advertising agency that reached global status. In 1948, this was quite a feat. 

People in the industry referred to David Ogilvy as the father of advertising, and little did they know how accurate they were. It seems to us at EDK that Ogilvy adopted an industry that didn’t have direction and needed a father’s guidance so that this budding industry could have a promising future. 

Well, he would be very proud of the legacy he left behind. He authored several books on marketing including, “Confessions of an Advertising Man” (1963) and  “Ogilvy on Advertising.” (1983). He also wrote essays and articles, and quotes that are still relevant today. 

His agency is still around today in 2023, although Ogilvy & Mather has undergone many mergers and acquisitions. In 2018 it was rebranded to Ogilvy. Ogilvy is part of the WWP Group, one of the most significant global marketing and communications companies.

The Ogilvy Agency today operates in 120+ countries and handles many diverse clients in all industries, from consumer goods to financial services and healthcare.

The answer to our question at this blog’s beginning is that it’s likely that advertising and our culture co-evolve. Because of Ogilvy’s influence and accuracy, he significantly impacted his targeted audience and how they understood themselves and their place in the culture then. 

Check out this commercial created by Ogilvy & Mather for American Express!