management style

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Ogilvy On Advertising" by David Ogilvy. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Who was Raymond Rubicam? What were his contributions to the advertising world?

Raymond Rubicam got his start as a copywriter at an agency in Philadelphia. Rubicam valued creatives and the creative part of the ad process. He was known for having great artistic taste.

Read more about Raymond Rubicam and his work in advertising.

Raymond Rubicam (1892-1978)

Like all the greats, Raymond Rubicam didn’t get into advertising right away. He left school at 15 and did a variety of odd jobs for almost 10 years. When he was 24, he got a job as a copywriter for a Philadelphia agency that he stayed with for three uncomfortable years (the office politics were unpleasant). Next, he spent four years writing for N.W. Ayer, which was the largest agency in the U.S. at the time. 

By this point, Rubicam was ready to go his own way and he started Young & Rubicam with John Orr Young, who had been an account executive at Ayer. They had only $5,000 worth of capital. Their first big account was General Foods.

Rubicam most valued copywriters and creative people and didn’t think much of account executives. He came to value art directors too—Rubicam and Young’s earliest advertisements featured good copy but amateur layouts, and when Rubicam realized this shortcoming, he hired a top art director. From then on Rubicam cultivated a reputation for good taste.

Like Resor, Rubicam was responsible for some firsts in the industry—he was the first to use research, which he started by hiring Gallup to measure advertisement readership.

Also like Resor, Rubicam had principles. He believed that advertising shouldn’t be sleazy, shouldn’t lie or attempt to bamboozle the public, and should not only sell a product but be a work of art. He dropped accounts when they were bullies.

Rubicam retired from his agency after 21 years when he married for the second time. At the time of writing, his agency billed around $3 billion a year.

Raymond Rubicam’s contributions changed the ad industry and helped shape it into what we know today.

Raymond Rubicam: Research Pioneer of Advertising

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Carrie Cabral

Carrie has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember, and has always been open to reading anything put in front of her. She wrote her first short story at the age of six, about a lost dog who meets animal friends on his journey home. Surprisingly, it was never picked up by any major publishers, but did spark her passion for books. Carrie worked in book publishing for several years before getting an MFA in Creative Writing. She especially loves literary fiction, historical fiction, and social, cultural, and historical nonfiction that gets into the weeds of daily life.

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