Advertising in the 1950s Schweppes Ads Renderings & Ads Puerto Rico Ads The Ogilvy Style Ad Campaign Work Bill Binzen Home

The Ogilvy Vision and Style

The Ogilvy Vision and Style

Ogilvy's bible was Holiday, a travel magazine that was very popular at the time, laid out much like Life magazine, with the best photographers, large images, nice clean text, and a very readable, legible format. Ogilvy wanted his ads to look like a magazine editorial page, or an article clean, simple and clear. At that time ads were all too often a haphazard jumble of text and pictures.

Texaco ad England
An example of the
kind of ads that were
prevelant in that era.
A nice Ogilvy ad. Notice the
clean, simple copy blocks.

The basic format Ogilvy developed was his advertising road to glory: a beautiful picture would take up about 60% or more of the ad space. Beneath it would be a short headline, something that would catch your eye, something easy to read, that would make you want to read on. Beneath the headline would be three neatly lined-up copy blocks.

I became a part of the successful promotion of this format. It was designed to make an impact, and it was almost inevitable that it would. For a few glorious years, we got very interesting accounts and terrific notice for it.

Communications from David Ogilvy

Memo: Puerto Rico renaissance

Often we would get memos from Ogilvy, who really watched everything that went on very closely. That close attention and rapport partly accounts for the great success of the agency that he built.

Here's an amusing memo I received from Ogilvy while I was away on assignment on our first campaign for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. It really shows the way he communicated his vision. It says:

What we need for the advertisements is about twelve immortal photographs. The emphasis should be historical, cultural, and renaissance. We want ancient churches, magnificent scenery, friendly people, and just enough modern architecture for contrast. Remember that the advertisements must be beautiful, spiritual, and unforgettable. Best regards. David.

How's that for an assignment!

In 1955, I had independently sent some of my own artworks to Life magazine. They were cutout sillhouettes placed in natural settings, and Life ran some of them in their "Speaking of Pictures" section one week while I was working in Puerto Rico. This really wowed them back at the agency. Here's a cable David sent me, showing what a thoughtful kind of guy he was. It says "Congratulations on magnificent feature in Life."
  Life Memo 2

Next: Ad campaign work

Advertising in the 1950s Schweppes Ads Renderings & Ads Puerto Rico Ads The Ogilvy Style Ad Campaign Work Bill Binzen Home