Ogilvy NA Appoints Discipline Specific MDs

Interesting note in the press from the US about Ogilvy North America. 

A lot of bigger agencies have been experimenting with mixing up teams, de-accentuating or eliminating P&Ls, and cross-training up people so they can deliver integrated solutions.

The question is does it work?  At Ogilvy in NY the decision has been made to have separate MDs running DM and Advertising — which means perhaps not.

“We were trying to get people not to worry about a P&L and to think in a more holistic way about [client] solutions,” said John Seifert, North American chairman of The Ogilvy Group. “The effect that it had — which we discovered pretty quickly — is that it started to create a kind of grayness to what each discipline stood for.”

And, it must be assumed, that must have impacted on how the teams reacted to client requests and the quality of the work.  Otherwise the agency — which is one of the most mature and best run of the big established agencies — wouldn’t change course.

They’ll run their divisions, but then they’ll have an accountability on her [Carla Hendra’s] leadership team to make the whole greater than the sum of the parts.”

“There should be a common culture and philosophy of our promise to clients,” said Seifert. “But … we don’t want that to be lost in a mushed-up ‘we’re all one’ kind of model.”

Interesting to see — and equally interesting that DM and Advertising are seen as requiring separate management, but Digital is not.  Like a lot of established agencies, the management of DM, Advertising, Media, Heathcare Marketing, and PR have proven their case that their disciplines have a complexity and special skills that require nurturing and dedicated management. 

But poor OgilvyInteractive – despite being the oldest interactive agency brands and having a good case to celebrate turning 25 this year — languishes in integration without dedicated management. 

Be interesting to see how that works out as the year progresses.

 

Ogilvy Team: Separate but Equal

A restructuring in New York results in two new managing directors

March 8, 2009

-By Andrew McMains

NEW YORK When Ogilvy & Mather named separate managing directors for advertising and direct marketing at its New York headquarters last week, it was a tacit acknowledgment that having co-leaders across all disciplines bred confusion among staffers and a lack of accountability among bosses.

“We were trying to get people not to worry about a P&L and to think in a more holistic way about [client] solutions,” said John Seifert, North American chairman of The Ogilvy Group. “The effect that it had — which we discovered pretty quickly — is that it started to create a kind of grayness to what each discipline stood for.”

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