david ogilvy, my god of quotes


i am an ogilvy baby. i learned the basics from that company and it is also where i told myself that communication is part of life.

today marks my 11th year in the advertising/communication business. in May 7, 1997, fresh from a 2-month stay in the US, the Ogilvy & Mather Philippines office called me up to say that i got in, as a participant of their 360-degree training (similar to Basic Advertising’s Advertising University). ogilvy then was just a 5-year old creative shop, but i decided to apply there because of one ad which they displayed in their booth at my school’s job fair:


No to dope. No to heroin. No to coke. A public service message from Pepsi Cola.

(i love coca-cola, i’m a loyal user, but this ad was so intriguing and controversial that it took my breath away)

my world started to expand when i joined. kotex pantiliners was my first account, and on my 2nd day, i ended up staying at a photographer’s studio until 2am because i had to oversee a product shoot. after a month, i had my first TV ad shoot. a few months after, i helped launch comfort fabric conditioner, the next year, we won all the awards that the comfort and kotex ads were nominated on. my last year there, in 2000, i was sent to thailand for the worldwide northwest advertising seminar (my first official business trip!) only to come home a few days after and spend 2 sleepless nights monitoring a tragic airline accident (not northwest, but news regarding airline disasters, in general, was part of my job).

one thing i gained in my stint in ogilvy was an admiration for quotes… why? because david ogilvy, the founder, was a man who gave the best ever quotable quotes as far as advertising is concerned. the best because they are not only damn good inclusions to a presentation slide, but they are also worth pondering on.


my favorites:



this one i heard from a colleague a few minutes ago:


If each of us hires people smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs.

the quote in its original context:

“When someone is made the head of an office in the Ogilvy & Mather chain, I send him a Matrioshka doll from Gorky. If he has the curiosity to open it, and keep opening it until he comes to the inside of the smallest doll, he finds this message: If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.”

it is now something that i will try to live up to.

a few more for your (and my) indulgence:

It is flagrantly dishonest for an advertising agent to urge consumers to buy a product which he would not allow his own wife to buy.


Many people – and I think I am one of them – are more productive when they’ve had a little to drink. I find if I drink two or three brandies, I’m far better able to write.


Our business is infested with idiots who try to impress by using pretentious jargon.


The consumer isn’t a moron; she is your wife.

by the way, my last ever multinational agency gig (before deciding to become a strategic planner for a local activation group) was ogilvyaction, its below-the-line sister company… 10 years after seeing that ad in my school.


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