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Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide 60th Anniversary

“Encourage innovation. Change is our lifeblood, stagnation our death knell.”
- David Ogilvy, Founder, Ogilvy

On September 23rd 1948, advertising virtuoso David Ogilvy secures the financial backing of Mather & Crowther and S.H. Benson and opens Hewitt, Ogilvy, Benson & Mather in New York. He was 38 years old.

Today, that same company is now known as Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide (ogilvy.com), and is one of the largest marketing communications networks in the world, with 450+ offices in 120 countries, specializing in advertising, relationship and interactive marketing, public relations, sales promotion and related services. The agency currently services many Fortune Global 500 companies, including American Express, BAT, BP, Cisco, Coca-Cola, DHL, DuPont, Ford, Gillette, GSK, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Kimberly-Clark, Kodak, Kraft, Lenovo, Mattel, Motorola, Nestlé, SAP, Unilever and Yahoo!..


Shortly after opening Hewitt, Ogilvy, Benson & Mather, David Ogilvy rapidly proceeds to win the agency’s first business account, Wedgwood China, England’s finest china company, which was nearly 200 years old. The following year, Hewitt, Ogilvy, Benson & Mather, led by Andy Hewitt, landed its first major American client, Sunoco (Sun Oil), putting to rest the concerns of Ogilvy’s British financial backers that American companies would resist hiring a British ad man.

“Big Ideas” was all the buzzword in the 1950s, with David Ogilvy penning the "Guinness Guide to Oysters," the first ad he writes as the head of Hewitt, Ogilvy, Benson & Mather. In 1951, the Hathaway Man" is born. Sales increase by 160%, and the campaign puts Hathaway Shirts on the map, after 116 years of relative obscurity. The subsequent year, Hewitt, Ogilvy, Benson & Mather propels Britain from the fifth to the first U.S. tourism destination with the "Come to Britain" campaign for the British Tourist Authority.

In 1955, David Ogilvy adds the tagline, "Dove creams your skin while you wash," in its commercials, upon learning that Dove soap was "one-quarter moisturizing cream. The product makes a profit in its first year. The following year, David Ogilvy creates the first Pepperidge Farm puff pastry commercial, using the Titus Moody character from a 1930s radio show. The ads are so popular that Moody is known more for the commercials than the show. The campaign subsequently proceeds to run for over 30 years.

Following Anderson Hewitt’s resignation as Chairman and CEOin 1953, David Ogilvy gains majority control of Ogilvy, Benson & Mather (OBM) in New York when Treasurer Shelby Page goes to London to buy back OBM stock from S.H. Benson and Mather & Crowther in 1957. In the same year, Ogilvy launches a tourism campaign for Puerto Rico, following years of political upheaval on the island. The "Pablo Casals is coming home to Puerto Rico" ad helps tourist expenditures rise from $19 million to $53 million a year.

In 1958, "Good to the last drop" is immortalized as the description of the coffee when Ogilvy, Benson & Mather launches ads for Maxwell House, a new account that initiates a lasting relationship with Kraft General Foods. Legend has it that in 1907, after finishing a cup of Maxwell House coffee, President Roosevelt said those now-famous five words.

During the 1960s, Ogilvy, Benson & Mather opens its first international office in Toronto, which was to be the birthplace of the Dove "Evolution" campaign. The agency also launched its first campaign for Sears, today the fourth largest retailer in the U.S.. In 1962, Ogilvy, Benson & Mather wins American Express, only four years after the company issues its first credit card. Still a flagship account today, it is one of the agency's most awarded accounts, including an Emmy win for the "My Life. My Card." campaign spot featuring Ellen Degeneres.

In 1964, with the help of Commander Whitehead and "Schweppervesence," Ogilvy ads boost Schweppes sales in the U.S. by 500% over nine years. The campaign proceeds to run for 18 years. The following year, Ogilvy, Benson & Mather New York and Mather & Crowther merge to form Ogilvy & Mather International, effectively creating "one agency indivisible."

This was quickly followed by Ogilvy & Mather International becoming the first ad agency to go public on both the New York and London Stock Exchanges in 1966, coinciding with David Ogilvy being appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire, the British order of chivalry shortly after, in 1967.

In 1969, Ogilvy & Mather International wins the Hershey account and builds the brand into the #1 chocolate maker in the U.S. It is the first advertising agency to work with Hershey.


Only in business for two decades, Ogilvy & Mather International ranked 12th in the U.S. advertising industry and 9th internationally in 1970. Currently, it has 30 offices in 14 foreign countries. In 1971, Merrill Lynch's "Bullish on America" campaign becomes the agency's first big brand idea. The bull is still a part of the company's logo. 1972 marked a significant step for Ogilvy & Mather International, with its acquisition of the direct marketing firm Hodes-Daniel Company to establish the agency's direct response capability. This will become the forerunner of OgilvyOne.

Ogilvy & Mather Direct tests the waters with direct mail for American Express Card acquisition for the first time in 1974. The "Quite frankly, the American Express Card is not for everyone" letter will be mailed 280 million times over 12 years. The agency would continue making waves for American Express, with its “Portraits” campaign named Print Campaign of the Decade by Advertising Age in 1990, and the "Charge Against Hunger" campaign launch in 1993, helping to provide more than 150 million pounds of food to people in need.

In 1976, With an established reputation in the promotion of automobiles, Ogilvy helps launch Ford's newest model, the Fiesta, in Europe. Today, Ogilvy promotes the Fiesta in more than 20 countries.

Further expanding Ogilvy’s presence in the Asia Pacific region, where today the agency is ranked #1, Ogilvy & Mather Bombay launches the Indian Cancer Society campaign in 1978. Within two months, ICS checkup visits increase by 200%. Ogilvy & Mather International also opens an office in China in 1979.

Shortly after his retirement as Ogilvy & Mather’s Chairman in 1975, Ogilvy is inducted into the American Advertising Federation Hall of Fame in 1977, which was founded the same year as Ogilvy. He is succeeded by Jock Elliott, dubbed "a statesman of the advertising business."

1980 marked the year that Ogilvy & Mather Public Relations (OPR) was established. Currently 28 offices spanning three continents, OPR is rated in the top 10 of PR agencies in the world. The following year, AT&T brings Ogilvy & Mather a $10,000 assignment, an account that within the year will grow to $150 million in billings.

While a client since the 1960s, the 1980s marks a new milestone for Barbie when in 1982, OgilvyOne launches the Barbie Fan Club in France, with 120,000 girls join in the first year. Today, there are 2.5 million members. In 198, Ogilvy & Mather Direct establishes the Interactive Marketing Group, becoming the first agency network in the world to establish an interactive capability. David Ogilvy also publishes Ogilvy on Advertising in the same year..

In 1985, the agency’s name changes to The Ogilvy Group, serving as the parent company of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide and several independent associate agencies, while 1986 marks an important year for David Ogilvy as he was inducted into the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame. Ken Roman becomes Chairman of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide in 1987. A year later, he is named Chairman and CEO of The Ogilvy Group and Chairman of The Ogilvy Group’s Executive Committee. Shelly Lazarus is concurrently named General Manager of Ogilvy & Mather Direct New York.

1988 was a breakthrough year for the agency, when the internet becomes a commercial reality in America, following approval from U.S. regulators. The agency's Interactive Marketing Group (later to become OgilvyInteractive) can now explore its full marketing potential. Two decades later, Forrester Research would name OgilvyInteractive the leading digital agency.

The following year 1989 would be an unprecedented hallmark year for Ogilvy & Mather, with it being the first western ad agency to officially open in the Soviet Union. WPP plc also formally announces its acquisition of The Ogilvy Group for $864 million the same year.

In 1991, Ogilvy & Mather Paris wins the Cannes Grand Prix for Nestlé's Perrier with the "La Lionne" commercial. In the show's 55-year history, Ogilvy has received four Grand Prix. The following year, Charlotte Beers is named Chairman and CEO of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide. She is the first woman to lead a top global agency. She is the brain behind the "brand stewardship" focus of the agency. Ogilvy & Mather also creates the Pond’s Institute campaign in France the same year, which now runs in over 50 markets worldwide. Fifteen years later, Ponds lands a branded entertainment television deal brokered by OgilvyEntertainment.

In the largest account switch in advertising and direct marketing history, IBM awards its entire $500-million-dollar worldwide account to Ogilvy & Mather in 1994. With Ogilvy, IBM is among the first advertisers to place a banner ad on HotWired. Ogilvy & Mather Asia Pacific continues to expand, with the agency opening offices in Japan and Sri Lanka under the helm of Miles Young, who was appointed Chairman in 1995.

In 1996, Shelly Lazarus becomes Chairman and CEO of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, a position she holds for 12 years with aplomb. Ogilvy also introduces a new internal Web application, Truffles, the agency's global knowledge management tool. Continuing in the same digital vein, Ogilvy institutes a new client service initiative called Customer Ownership™ the following year, integrating the agency's many services. Ogilvyalso coins the term "e-business" for IBM.

1998 marked an important win at Cannes for Ogilvy, with its first Cyber Lion for IBM's “e-culture” campaign, only four years after winning the global account.


In the new millennium, Ogilvy's B2C client roster grows, with Motorola and SAP now on board. OgilvyInteractive opens for business in Milan, Italy, the same year, and four years later wins Mediastar’s New Media Agency of the Year. Ogilvy also subsequently wins the global account for Sprite, a Coca-Cola brand.

In 2002, Gong xi! Ogilvy PR is named the #1 public relations agency in China. The following year sees a strategic win by Ogilvy from Cisco. In just three short years, the “Human Network” campaign will extend Web 2.0 capabilities to such faraway places as rural China and the Himalayas.

2004 saw the launch of the inaugural Verge: The Ogilvy Global Digital Summit, which is held in New York City. Since its inception, 35 Verge events have been held in 32 countries worldwide and further augments Ogilvy’s global reputation as a digital pioneer. The following year, Ogilvy PR launches 360 Degree Digital Influence, a new comprehensive digital marketing offering that helps clients navigate an increasingly complex digital environment.

Diamond Ogilvy Group Korea becomes part of the Ogilvy network in 2006, instantly creating an industry leader in the world’s eighth-largest communications market.

Subsequently, 141 Worldwide rebrands as OgilvyAction, Ogilvy's promotion and event marketing agency, and launches its trademark strategy, The Last Mile.™

Dove Evolution wins two Grand Prix awards at Cannes – an historic event in the industry. It follows the 2005 Euro Effies Grand Prix win for Ogilvy London's Dove “Firming” Campaign.


Brian Fetherstonhaugh, Chairman & CEO of OgilvyOne Worldwide, commented: "David Ogilvy gave us the foundation upon which we have built a global network, and he has inspired us to continuously push the boundaries of innovation. No other agency is better positioned to evolve and adapt to the changes within the marketing communications industry that will occur in the coming decades.”

In 2008, Ogilvy launches the global Digital Innovation Lab network as part of the agency's ongoing commitment to fostering digital solutions. Ogilvy Singapore becomes Marketing magazine's "Digital Agency of the Year" on the strength of the Lab's work.

As Brand Stewards, the agency works to leverage the brands of its multinational clients by combining local know-how with a worldwide network, creating powerful campaigns that address local market needs while reinforcing the universal brand identity.
The hallmark of the agency’s brand-building capabilities is 360 Degree Brand Stewardship®, a holistic approach to communications, using what is necessary from each discipline to build a brand.
This year also marks the 60th anniversary celebration of Ogilvy, where over 30 offices worldwide throughout the Ogilvy network held a 60th anniversary celebration with a rolling global party, commemorating David Ogilvy’s legacy and the culture he created, and uniting Ogilvy’s 15,000 employees across the globe. The anniversary celebrated creativity and big brand ideas, the foundation of the agency’s culture, and the festivities were webcast on the agency’s intranet using a new, open source platform.
In New York, the theme of innovation was brought to life at the Paley Center for Media with a new video art installation inspired by the words and ideas of David Ogilvy. The exhibit, utilizing both sound and motion, was an epic cornerstone for Advertising Week in New York (September 22 – 26).

“Little did David know back then that he was creating a culture and a philosophy that would transform our industry, and live on and flourish to this day. David’s viewpoints on the importance of brands and the power of big ideas and creativity are as relevant today as they were when he came up with them . . . and perhaps even more so. And for the next 60 years, we will continue in that tradition.”

- Shelly Lazarus, Chairman & CEO of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide

This article was made possible with the assistance of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide

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