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Friday, 26 February 2010

“A thousand apologies, Oh Effendi”

In the adventure books I devoured by the shedload when I was a kid that line that was always delivered by people like camel drivers in exotic lands ...

Anyhow, it's my way of apologising for putting up a dodgy link yesterday -- I missed out the .com in http://www.draytonbirdcommonsense.com/davidogilvy

I realised two sad things when watching the video: I am just three years younger than the great man was when he made that video; and no matter how hard I work in the time I have left I will never have such a presence.

I have lots of stories about David (as does anyone who knew him), but here are two that thrilled me beyond measure at the time.

I made a speech to our office heads in Barcelona around the time David made that video. He was going to be there, so I was terrified out of my wits - didn't sleep a wink the night before.

When I stood up he wasn't there, then he suddenly appeared. He was delayed by an interview with a journalist, who asked him "What's the worst interview you've ever had, Mr. Ogilvy?"

He replied: "This one. A friend of mine is about to give a speech next door and I want to listen to him. Good day to you."

After I left O & M we kept in touch. One day he rang me up and said, "I'm terribly worried about money. Would you like to do some seminars with me?"

I was as pleased as Punch.

I said, "That's immensely flattering, David, and I'd love to - but it's not necessary. People will always be happy to pay you a lot of money to add the lustre of your name to theirs."

This thing about making speeches was a running joke with us. He once rang me and began the conversation with "Good morning,. Just back from making another speech, eh?"

When he first criticised me I told him I made speeches because every time I did so I had to learn something or think about something carefully, and it did me good.

And to answer Tony Gedge, yes, I still make speeches. Maybe ten a year. And people seem to like them, as they pay good money.

In the next few months, South Africa, Slovenia, the U.S. - but not the U.K. for some reason. Here's a little clip from something I did for Ordnance Survey last year.

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