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Ogilvy & Mather executives wanted to do more than just showcase the Chicago shop's work on its walls, the standard office decoration. Instead, they sought to inspire staffers with founding father David Ogilvy's creative wit and humor.

So the agency has replaced some of the art displayed behind the glass panels along the hallways with thoughts taken from memos penned by the ad legend.

In one such excerpt, from a memo dated April 17, 1980, Ogilvy asked people to submit candidates for a creative director slot. "Twenty of you sent me a total of 49 names," he wrote. "One of you sent me six names—his entire creative staff, I suspect; charitable fellow. ... Ten of you have not answered. Bastards!"

In 1981 he sent a list to Ogilvy's board that was later converted into a help-wanted ad.

"In my experience there are five kinds of creative directors: 1. Sound on strategy, dull on execution. 2. Good man agers, who don't make waves ... and don't produce brilliant campaigns, either. 3. Duds. 4. The genius, who is a lousy leader. 5. Trumpeter swans, who combine personal genius and inspiring leadership. We have an opening for one of these rare birds in one of our offices overseas."

Shop co-managing directors Linda Garrison and Joe Sciarrotta devised the decorating idea, an agency representative said.