Former Ogilvy Chairman Dies at 84

NEW YORK John “Jock” Elliott, former chairman of Ogilvy & Mather and a member of the Advertising Hall of Fame, died Saturday, after a cerebral hemorrhage, at Northern Westchester Hospital Center in Mount Kisco, N.Y., according to Ogilvy. He was 84.

Elliott was worldwide chairman of Ogilvy from 1975 until his retirement in 1982. He succeeded the legendary David Ogilvy in that role, and, on his watch, the agency added clients such as IBM and American Express. Before that, from 1965-75, Elliott was chairman of the agency’s U.S. operations, again succeeding Ogilvy. He joined the shop, now owned by WPP Group, in 1960.

“Much is known of David’s great leadership, but Jock also put an indelible mark on our company—on our culture, our beliefs and our values,” said O&M worldwide CEO Shelly Lazarus, in an e-mail to agency staffers. “We would not be the company we are but for the ballast (Jock characterized it once in a speech as the keel) that he brought to the ship.

“Jock always believed that you should guide your actions by a simple motto: ‘Do the right thing.’ What an obvious phrase, but he lived by it. He also publicly urged his peers to ‘Do your best.’ This imperative marked his life, and summarizes what he brought as a leader to this company and the industry at large.”

Elliott began his career in 1945 as a copywriter at what’s now known as BBDO. Young & Rubicam’s Ed Ney, a longtime friend and former colleague at BBDO (between 1947 and 1951), described Elliott as witty, down-to-earth and caring.

“He had that wit and self-deprecation that is painful a little bit to anybody who does it. And he did it in such a class way,” said Ney, now chairman emeritus of Y&R. “I found Jock a person almost that you don’t find anymore.”

Outside of advertising, Elliott was known for his volunteer work and several organizations honored him through the years, including the United Jewish Appeal, American Scottish Foundation (Wallace Award), American Jewish Committee, Red Cross and Woodrow Wilson Foundation. “He was one of the most public-spirited people in the business and really communicated those values within the agency,” said Ken Roman, another former chairman of Ogilvy.

In addition, Elliott was a board member of the Wildlife Conservation Society and Thirteen/WNET. In lieu of flowers, Elliott’s family has requested memorial donations to Thirteen/WNET, Attn: Patron Network, 450 West 33rd St., New York, N.Y. 10001, and Wildlife Conservation Society, Attn: Tricia Park, 2300 Southern Blvd., Bronx, N.Y. 10460.

A funeral service is scheduled for 3 p.m. Wednesday at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, at 1 West 53rd St. in New York.

Elliott is survived by his wife of 49 years, the former Eleanor Thomas, of Cross River, N.Y., and Manhattan, and his brother, Osborn Elliott of Manhattan.