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The King of Madison Avenue: David Ogilvy and the Making of Modern Advertising [Kindle Edition]

Kenneth Roman
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Kindle Price: $9.99
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Book Description

Famous for his colorful personality and formidable intellect, David Ogilvy left an indelible mark on the advertising world, transforming it into a dynamic industry full of passionate, creative individuals. This first-ever biography traces Ogilvy's remarkable life, from his short-lived college education and undercover work during World War II to his many successful years in New York advertising. Ogilvy's fascinating life and career make for an intriguing study from both a biographical and a business standpoint. Idiosyncratic, full of contradictions, and characterized by a powerful intellect, he redefined the business and became an icon within the advertising world, inspiring countless people to devote their lives to it.

This biography is based on a wealth of material from decades of working alongside the advertising giant, including a large collection of photos, memos, recordings, notes, and extensive archives of Ogilvy's personal papers. The book describes the creation of some of history's most famous advertising campaigns, such as:

* "The man in the Hathaway shirt" with his aristocratic eye patch

* "The man from Schweppes is here" with Commander Whitehead, the elegant bearded Brit, introducing tonic water (and "Schweppervesence") to the U.S.

* Perhaps the most famous automobile headline of all time--"At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock."

* "Pablo Casals is coming home--to Puerto Rico." Ogilvy said this campaign, which helped change the image of a country, was his proudest achievement.

* And his greatest (if less recognized) sales success--"DOVE creams your skin while you wash."

Fifty years later, still on his original proposition that it doesn't dry your skin, Dove has become the largest selling cleansing brand in the world.

Roman also carries Ogilvy's message into the present day, showing the contemporary relevance of the bottom-line focus for which his business ventures are remembered, and how this approach is still key for professionals in the modern advertising world.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Roman, former chairman and CEO of Ogilvy & Mather, paints a fascinating portrait of one of advertising's most eccentric—and beloved—characters. Born in a small English town in 1911, David Ogilvy was an indifferent student, struggling through on scholarship at the best schools in Britain, eventually getting himself expelled from Oxford. He started out as a successful salesman for the Aga cooker and became swiftly obsessed with advertising. During his long and storied career at Mather & Crowther—later Ogilvy & Mather—the flamboyantly dressed original Mad Man crafted some of the most famous and most successful campaigns in history: he made Schweppes into one of the most popular brands in America and turned Marlboro from a traditionally feminine item (red-tipped to avoid showing lipstick) into an icon of masculinity—and the world's best-selling cigarette. Meanwhile, he married three women, wrote three books, did intelligence work for Churchill and established himself as one of New York's most well-known and entertaining figures. Roman brilliantly renders American culture in the heady days of the '60s through the eyes of an energetic transplant. Lively writing and an affectionate yet honest tone make this an astonishingly charming and informative biography. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Praise for The King of Madison Avenue:

"Lively writing and an affectionate yet honest tone make this an astonishingly charming and informative biography."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Insofar as it is possible to recreate the unique wit and always unexpected genius of David Ogilvy, Kenneth Roman has succeeded.”--Louis Auchincloss, National Medal of Arts winner and best-selling author of The House of Five Talents, Portrait in Brownstone, East Side Story, and many more

“At last! The definitive biography of the most influential advertising executive with whom I had the pleasure of working. Ken Roman’s research diligence has brought much more of David’s uniqueness to light. A great read from someone who worked with David for 26 years!”--Jack Keenan, former CEO of Kraft Foods International, and Diageo PLC Wine and Spirits

“David Ogilvy was unquestionably the King of Madison Avenue. Ken Roman's biography reflects his personal insights gained from being a colleague of Ogilvy's for several decades. This intimate portrayal makes clear Ogilvy's inspiring leadership of his agency even though he abhorred his managerial tasks. Ogilvy's convictions about what made for effective advertising -- it sells -- are clearly described by Roman, as is his brilliant personal salesmanship in winning new clients. A terrific read!”--Ron Daniel, former Managing Partner, McKinsey & Co.

"This brilliant biography is like a gorgeous iceberg. The tip dazzles the reader and is supported by a mass of weighty research below. Kenneth Roman enchants us with his account of the life and times of David Ogilvy who towered above the world of advertising … It should be required reading for all in the business … The story is told swiftly and entertainingly. The voluminous research is set out in detailed note...

Product Details

  • File Size: 522 KB
  • Print Length: 300 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1403978956
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Trade (June 8, 2010)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001VLXNE2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #246,286 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tells you what his autobiography didn't January 14, 2009
I devoured half the book at a sitting. Besides being well-written it tells me all the things I wanted to know that David's autobiography - Blood, Brains and Beer - didn't. That curiously impersonal book disappointed many people, because it dished absolutely no dirt whatsoever.

For me, who only knew him in the twilight of his career, this book was full of interest. I always wanted to know about David and women. (The way he left his first wife was extraordinarily unkind - and crazy). I wanted to know what exactly he did in the secret service during the war - and indeed why he never fought. I wanted to know the exact relationship he had with his brilliant elder brother, Francis. I wanted to know whether he worried as much as I do.

It's all there, and more.

Claude Hopkins and John Caples may have made more impact on the nature of advertising and direct marketing. Albert Lasker made far more money. Many think Bill Bernbach's agency was more "creative". But nobody - to my mind - had such an influence on so many people

This is despite the fact that many of his ideas were not at all original. The headline of his most famous advertisement was run thirty years earlier by another car manufacturer. Other people talked about the brand and its image before him. Others - going back to the 19th century - pointed out that advertising should be about selling, not showing off. And still yet others trumpeted the importance of research

But nobody took these thoughts and theories, reflected on them, elaborated on them, explained them and propagated them so memorably, persuasively, and with such style.

I worked with David Ogilvy for quite a few years towards the end of his career. This book brought him back to life for me.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Look at the Original Mad Man January 13, 2009
With the success of AMC's "Mad Men" television series, this book was probably destined to happen. Because in many ways, David Ogilvy, the subject of this bio, was the original "Mad Man." In fact, his life story could easily become the basis of a TV series.

That Ogilvy ended up being a legendary figure in advertising is all the more compelling because of his background prior to entering advertising.

In 1931, all of 20 years old and fresh out of Oxford, Ogilvy went to work in the kitchen of the Hotel Majestic in Paris, where he became a sous chef. From there he worked (in no particular order) as a door-to-door salesman of stoves, a researcher for George Gallup, an Amish-country farmer and a spy for the Brits during World War II.

Oglivy eventually landed in New York where, withith the backing of British ad agencies S.H. Benson and Mather & Crowther, he started Ogilvy, Benson & Mather.

A master salesman and asute believer in direct advertising and marketing principles, Oglivy overcame early struggles to land clients and go on to produce some of the most memorable ad campaigns in history for Hathaway shirts, Rolls Royce and Schweppes, among others.

As detailed in the book, Oglivy spent hours meticulously researching his clients and their products, searching for an idea that could be used to sell the product. Ogilvy, who also was a copywriter, would not only hit upon an idea but then brilliantly craft advertising built on those ideas.

But Ogilvy's history as an ad man is only part of the story. Ogilvy also had a rich personal life, including multiple marriages, culminating with his purchasing and living in a castle in France in his last years.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I was SO wrong back in the 60s! February 14, 2009
In 1965, I came to Madison Avenue as a young copywriter at Young & Rubicam. And those were the days of the Creative Revolution! While we writers and art directors at Y&R won a ton of creative awards--and we did--we were awed by the creative brilliance pouring forth from a non-Madison-Avenue shop, Doyle, Dane, Bernbach. Volkswagen "Think Small" ads! The Avis "We Try Harder" ads! Oh, if only we could work there!

But how did I feel--back then--about Ogilvy & Mather and the Scottish bloke behind it? Truth be told, none of the agency creatives I hung out with or worked with directly at Y&R, had ever set foot inside Ogilvy & Mather. Mr. Ogilvy, with his red braces and ads for Rolls Royce and Hathaway shirts, was an "interesting" person. But he was not a Living God like Bill Bernbach. I would have walked barefoot through rusty razor blades for the chance to have coffee with Mr. Bernbach.

And what if someone had invited me to join David Ogilvy for a sumptuous lunch at his expense? It's quite possible I would have taken a pass. The "hot kids" just weren't that entranced with David and his Hathaway eye patches.

Holy cow, was I wrong!

Kenneth Roman's action-packed book, "The King Of Madison Avenue," reveals the fascinating brilliance and mile-deep creative dimensions of David Ogilvy. I turned the pages relentlessly, making literally hundreds of marginal notes in my copy. I was bowled over by Ogilvy's unique, rich, peripatetic background--certainly he possessed a far more multi-layered wealth of experiences when compared to any other ad-business chieftain during the 20th Century. All of this is thoroughly described by author Roman with lively (sometimes juicy) anecdotes and solid reporting from hundreds of sources.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Had read for a class reasonable price arrived on time
Published 14 days ago by Ebony Roberts
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed it thoroughly
David seemed like the same guy I had the privilege of meeting, twice. Smooth, stylish, yet insane enough to rock you out of your complacency with just a twist of a phrase. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Leonard Gillett III
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastically fun
A real look into getting to know the man behind the legendary agency. Not to mention it's a quick read!
Published 18 months ago by Brian D. Simmons
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful!!
A real in depth and honest look into the history of Ogilvy! Entertaining and educational all at once, I would definitely recommend it for anyone in marketing or advertising!
Published 21 months ago by Enrique Salas-Limon
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling insights into the influence and character of the most...
Ken Roman has put incredible energy and valuable insights into the life, character and influence of David Ogilvy. Read more
Published on September 6, 2012 by J. Garrity
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and lucid
What can I add to any review to this marvellous book? Not much - except a personal tale, which I daresay mirrors that of thousands. Read more
Published on August 15, 2012 by Greg Waggett
4.0 out of 5 stars Overcoming early misadventures
I read Ogilvy on Advertising back in the 1970's when I was looking for work, not because I wanted to go into Advertising but because I wanted to do a better job of selling myself. Read more
Published on August 1, 2011 by Richard M. Rollo
4.0 out of 5 stars Introduction to an Ad Man
Kenneth Roman's book was an intriguing and fascinating portrayal of David Ogilvy, the "original Mad Man. Read more
Published on July 27, 2011 by Michael Tomasetti
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting, balanced look at an advertising pioneer and maverick
Kenneth Roman, former chairman and CEO of Oglivy and Mather, chronicles the life and influence of advertising pioneer and maverick David Oglivy in "King of Madison Avenue. Read more
Published on March 25, 2011 by Barry Sparks
4.0 out of 5 stars Knowing bio of the ad titan David Ogilvy and the compelling history of...
Author and adman Kenneth Roman worked for and with David Ogilvy for a quarter century at Ogilvy's groundbreaking ad agency Ogilvy & Mather. Read more
Published on January 28, 2011 by Rolf Dobelli
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