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The King of Madison Avenue: David Ogilvy and the Making of Modern Advertising
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Format: Hardcover, 304pp.
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Pub. Date: January 6, 2009
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Item No: 9781403978950
Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:
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:
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.
- "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.”
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.
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.)
—Publishers Weekly, Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"Engaging biography ... Thanks to The King of Madison Avenue, now we know David Ogilvy."
—Wall Street Journal
"Roman has written a fine book on his former boss. He has a gem of a subject and, as well as a fund of anecdotes, he provides a clear-eyed, unsentimental portrait of a brilliant tyrant."
"An entertaining and admiring portrait of the legendary figure ... [Roman's] many entertaining yarns delivered in spare prose are a pleasure to read."
"Powerful and entertaining ... admirably researched and beautifully written."
—James Brady, Forbes.com
"An admiring but clear-eyed portrait of David Ogilvy."
—New York Observer
"Kenneth Roman's very readable biography presents an expansive and entertaining portrait, offering insights into the life and times ... Using Ogilvy's own books, quotes, other writings and reminiscences, copious interviews from friends, family, colleagues and competitors, Roman does a masterful job of conveying the colorful personality of Ogilvy ... Roman does his old boss proud."
"Comprehensive ... paints a broader picture of an industry's evolution."
“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 notes at the back, and these also grip the attention of those who want to know how so much could be told with such flair, and why the author can paint a background of historical events with such certainty."
—William Stevenson, author of A Man Called Intrepid
“This is a surprisingly interesting book about one of the most remarkable characters in advertising history. It is also an introduction to the business itself and how it has been conducted, in sickness and in health, by someone who lived the experience.”
—Martin Mayer, author of Madison Avenue USA
“A great biography of a truly great man. David Ogilvy rewrote the book on modern advertising, and with The King of Madison Avenue, Ken Roman tells his story in a fashion that is worthy of David’s accomplishments. Extensively researched and very well written. Give this book to any young person thinking about going into advertising. It will inspire them.”
—Philip Carroll, former CEO of Shell Oil
“A most interesting book. It is a sensitive account of the career of this complex man who so successfully melded intuition and analysis. It should be compulsory reading for anyone contemplating a career in advertising or communications.”
—Sir Michael Angus, former Chairman, Unilever
“Nobody ever need write another word about David Ogilvy, now that Ken Roman has written The King of Madison Avenue. It’s the definitive biography of the most amazing man the advertising business has ever known. With David Ogilvy as the subject, how could you miss? Ken Roman doesn’t miss; this is the fairest, most thoughtful, most complete and most human biography of that flawed genius we are ever likely to get … Ken Roman has penetrated the myths and written the definitive story, warts and all, of the greatest advertising man and one of the most unforgettable characters of his time. The King of Madison Avenue is to other advertising biographies as David Ogilvy’s advertising was to that of other agencies: simply superior. Everyone who ever knew David Ogilvy will find something about the man they didn’t know, and those who never knew David Ogilvy will have a rollicking good time getting to know him. This has to be the most readable book ever written about advertising.”
—Bruce McCall, New Yorker writer and illustrator
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About the Author
Kenneth Roman worked directly with David Ogilvy at Ogilvy & Mather for 26 years, beginning as an account executive and rising up to eventually become Chairman and CEO. He is the co-author of several books, including the bestselling business classics How to Advertise and Writing that Works, both of which are in their third editions. He lives in New York City.
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