Ten years ago today, the advertising community lost one of its most innovative and successful practioners: David Ogilvy. In the decade that has passed, despite technological advances, new advertising mediums and the advent of social media, Ogilvy’s business advice is still on target. Here is what he shared with Fortune Magazine’s Patricia Sellers nearly 20 years ago:
1. Remember that Abraham Lincoln spoke of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. He left out the pursuit of profit.
2. Remember the old Scottish motto: “Be happy while you’re living, for you are a long time dead.”
3. If you have to reduce your company’s payroll, don’t fire your people until you have cut your compensation and the compensation of your big-shots.
4. Define your corporate culture and your principles of management in writing. Don’t delegate this to a committee. Search all the parks in all your cities. You’ll find no statues of committees.
5. Stop cutting the quality of your products in search of bigger margins. The consumer always notices — and punishes you.
6. Never spend money on advertising which does not sell.
7. Bear in mind that the consumer is not a moron. She is your wife. Do not insult her intelligence.
I would defy anyone to argue these points so many years after they were first shared. True brilliance always stands the test of time.