How deep insight into products and consumers transformed one man into “The Father of Advertising.” By Matt Shepherd-Smith.
In 1935, after leaving Oxford University prematurely, and following a failed apprenticeship as a chef in Paris, a young Englishman returned to his schoolboy city of Edinburgh and found a job as an Aga salesman.
An Aga is a Swedish-designed cooker combining hot plates and ovens in a single unit.
The young man was very good at selling them. So good in fact, that within a year this 24-year-old novice was the leading salesman in the company, and he was asked to write down the secrets of his salesmanship.
His resulting document, “The Theory and Practice of Selling the Aga Cooker,” was described by Fortune magazine 36 years later as “probably the best sales manual ever written.”
The man’s brother was so impressed with the manual that he sent it to an ad agency in London, called Mather & Crowther. They were similarly impressed, and offered the man a job on the spot.
The man’s name was David Ogilvy.