Ogilvy on (DR) Advertising

In the series Mad Men, characters Roger Sterling & Don Draper woo clients Kodak, Jaguar and Lucky Strike over two or three or more martini lunches.  In that same era, their non-fiction counterpart, David Ogilvy was busy creating a direct mail campaign to help land new accounts. While it may not have been as glamorous as lunch at the St. Regis, it did the job. Ogilvy & Mather grew at a phenomenal pace in the 1960’s to become a global brand in its own right, as well as lifting its clients Schwepps, Hathaway and Rolls Royce among others, to iconic status. 

Those early direct mail pitches reaffirmed something David Ogilvy knew, Direct Response advertising works. He also “opined” that general advertising and Direct Response were on “a collision course.”  The only thing I wonder today, is whether Mr. Ogilvy realized just how huge that “collision” would turn out to be?  With the explosion of online sales and social media, it’s probably much bigger than he could have imagined.  

The video piece linked to this blog was recorded shortly after Ogilvy & Mather had acquired A. Eicoff & Company. Ogilvy refers to Direct Response agencies being the “Cinderella” of the advertising world. Well, we all know what happened to her.

Direct Response is no longer confined to direct mail, television and telephone. Today Eicoff tracks response from customers via phone, web hits, texts; it’s never been more responsive than it is today.  

The folks at Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Price knew that a three-martini lunch would make their client feel good. However, David Ogilvy knew that Direct Response would make them feel better about their business. May I propose a toast to David Ogilvy?

Terry O'Sullivan is a SVP/Group Creative Director at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America’s largest DRTV agencies.