If Don Draper is the fantasized version of a suave 1960s pitchman, David Ogilvy was the real deal. Flamboyant and movie-star handsome, the late founder of Ogilvy & Mather helped build the Mad Men milieu, lording over advertising’s Cold War-era boom and producing some of the industry’s iconic campaigns.
A trove of Ogilvy’s history resides in Duke’s Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History, part of a collection of personal papers donated by former Ogilvy & Mather CEO Kenneth Roman. Roman, who recently published a biography of Ogilvy titled The King of Madison Avenue, visited Duke in March to help celebrate the Hartman Center’s twentieth anniversary—and share some tales of an original Mad Man.
“I knew I had a great subject, but I discovered I had a great story,” Roman said during the lecture. He recalled Ogilvy’s gift for divining advertising maxims, many of which he stowed in Russian nesting dolls for employees to discover. “He changed the business. He made it more professional,” Roman said.
Credit Ogilvy, too, for introducing gin-and-tonic to American consumers through a memorable ad campaign for Schweppes. And that’s a legacy that Draper would appreciate.