Agency Xray- Ogilvy UK's Take on Integration

This is an interesting presentation by Giles from Ogilvy on social media that gives a good insight into how they are approaching integration and social media. 

The full video on his site looks at a case study from Lenovo on the Beijing Olympics which I wish I had built, but picking out just parts referring to how Ogilvy works with digital shows how much things have progressed since I was there.


  • Digital is not a silo – Digital, as well as social and mobile (and new ones to come) are all cross discipline.  This was well underway when I was at OgilvyOne and makes sense when there are over 150 digital professionals spread across 14+ companies (in the UK alone).
  • Discipline Heads, Digital Hearts and Multi-Disciplinary Muscles – this is a nice way of putting it since clients often want to engage with a specific discipline, even to buy integrated solutions and digital is not a silo.  The question back to Ogilvy — since OgilvyInteractive isn't called out — is who takes the call when the client wants a Digital discipline lead?
  • Brainz – looking to fundementally revisit how work is created by having a social network that allows crowd sourcing solutions
  • Blackbook of Suppliers
  • 80/20 – From Mckinsey – 80% what works well and 20% innovation and testing

It is true that digital is pervading all of the traditional disciplines of marketing (advertising, direct marketing, PR, promotion) and that teams across all of these disciplines need to be able to understand and respond to digital questions.  If the speading around doesn't dillute the skillset — and using good technology can help avoid this — then it looks like a good approach.

Current New Agency Thinking in Advertising

It is funny how you consume media in the internet age. 

Some of us call it “information snacking,”  some call it “managing feeds.”  What is amazing is how we do still end up reading what we want to read and are able to keep up with significant stories or trends — even if they aren’t defined in a few media players editorial calendar as they were before.

I believe this is because the ease of publishing means strong ideas get enough coverage to still have a significant share of voice, regardless of the media fragmentation.

It is also because as humans we tend to build off of each other’s ideas.  A more cynical view would be to say we herd around themes. 

This WARC article does a great summary of the key themes I see frequently.

The changing art of persuasion in a downturn

There were a number of recurring themes throughout the day, but three were most prominent. First, the traditional “persuasion” model of advertising is broken. Second, the industry is becoming data rich but insight poor. Third, the structure and process of creating advertising has changed little since the days of Mad Men (while the customer, in the real world, has moved on dramatically).

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.”


A Good Year for OgilvyOne

Something to Shout AboutCampaign today announced OgilvyOne has be awarded DM Agency of the Year for the first time in its history.

It’s a good thing and given how important digital marketing has been to the British Airways win, an indication of how important having a real interactive capability is for direct marketing agencies. This is both creative concepting and production from OgilvyInteractive as well as digital media planning and buying from Neo@Ogilvy. Great work Bo and Richard.  And of course Mike, Annette, Colin and company.

Chaos 1.0

This is a piece I wrote for the IAB Engage Conference Handbook:

The Future of Marketing?

End is Near

“The advertising industry is passing through one of the most disorienting periods in its history … More people are rejecting traditional sales messages, presenting the ad industry with big challenges. ”
Economist, June 2004

“To find something comparable, you have to go back 500 years to the printing press, the birth of mass media …”
Rupert Murdoch, quoted in Wired, July 2006

It is an interesting time in the marketing industry.

Advertising agency executives, faced with the fast adoption of personal video recorders and shift of magazine content online, are convinced the business will cease to exist in as soon as five years. Or five minutes if you listen to Bob Garfield.

Direct Marketing agency executives are watching B2B communications shift aggressively to email and are questioning whether the traditional direct mail piece will be a relevant tool for generating leads or even delivering offers before too long.

PR agencies see that the tradition that all corporate communications is channelled through the corporate communications department to specific high circulation publishers is loosing relevance. Internal experts are expected to publish directly and the required response time for crisis management is minutes not days.

Finally, Media agencies are being presented viable online auction systems from SpotRunner, eBay and Google that could make the “buying clout” argument irrelevant. What’s more, they know the traditional media plan could quickly disappear as more channels are served and managed like search media.

In the face of all of this, amazingly the Digital Agencies also feel their business is under threat. As all briefs become “interactive briefs,” they are being stretched to compete with all agencies from all disciplines. They of all people recognise digital marketing encompasses a broad tool set and can be part of every campaign. As traditional agencies push for interactive work, they are looking to offer a broader solution including advertising or DM.

The piece that is critical is of course our clients. Marketing departments have their own pressures as product development, supply chains, communications and sales are impacted by technology. The last thing they need is their agencies bickering with each other over who does what, why and how.

As we go through this period of transformation, clients need to know they have a partner that can bring the people with the right skills to the table and know that there is clear programme management of their 360 campaigns. They need to know the core of their business will be delivered safely, but also know that their partner is willing to be adventurous. They know they need to be innovative, but briefing multiple agencies and managing the integration of the resulting work is more then a small challenge.

At OgilvyInteractive, our teams sit and work with each of the discipline organisation to be able to bring digital expertise together with the years of experience in advertising, direct marketing, healthcare marketing, sales activation or PR. As a community of digital professionals, we work with our colleagues in bespoke teams to meet our clients’ needs and work together to stay on top of the industry that is in constant change.

It may be a confusing time to be in marketing, but it is also a great time because the disciplines that were in silos in the past are now working together and clients are willing to test and measure new ideas. The big digital toolbox is being used to amplify great work across the disciplines which should be the result when you are doing real integrated 360 degree campaigns.

Shocking but true … always strange to see yourself presenting. Found this that my friends at marketing here at Ogilvy taped and posted.

Ogilvy London Verge Event

Ogilvy Verge This past week we ran our digital thought leadership conference, Verge, and I hosted the third section of the day, Engage.

It was a great full day and amazing how a little controversy and case studies go together well. Bob Garfield appropriately stressed the degree of change happening in the industry and credit to Ogilvy and particularly Ogilvy Advertising for asking him to speak.

We say all the time that if you want to get someone's attention, host a debate. It is good to see we are walking the talk.

At anyrate, here's my opening remarks which were slightly less inspired but fun to give.





Listen, Experiment and Engage.


As the anchor team of the day we're going to now shift our focus to Engage. How to take seriously engaging with our customers using digital channels. How to embrace the new world of Interactive Marketing. How to stop worrying about the potential impacts the Internet MAY have on our business, and instead talk about some companies that have made real decisions that change how they DO business.


It is interesting; having worked in interactive since 1995, there has been an expression that has been bandied around since the early days: "Do they get it?" I've never really liked the expression because it reminds me of a teenager talking about a complex social situation. "She just doesn't get it." Or it sounds as if understanding the impact of digital media were like understanding some of the more esoteric Turner Prize entries. It's a white room with a light turning on and off. "Don't you get it?"


"Getting digital" actually comes from the early days when the basics — using the Yahoo directory, buying a book online, having a digital camera — represented bizaar evangelical activity. The thought that someone would prefer to check their bank balance online or would prefer to learn about a new business application through e-mail was shocking. People would say "oh, those people. They're geeks."


Today we are all "geeks" — and it's a very real compliment. It is the reason we are here today. The question is no longer "if" digital channels will impact our business, it is "how" and what we should we do about it.





We are here because real businesses are making real profits through digital channels and real businesses are using interactive marketing to influence their customers.


In the US, retail web sales were $136 billion in 2006. What is interesting is that 41% of this is done by traditional retail chains. (Internet Retailer, Top 500 e-Retailers, 2007). Back in 1997 we did some work for the Gap and we had a big celebration when the ecommerce site did as much sales as one Manhatten store. Today The Gap does 5% of all its sales online – and that represents about 300 stores. Traditional retailers are engaged.


Here in the UK, Alliance & Lester has reported in its annual report that over 38% of their new sales on its 4 core retail banking products come over the Internet (2006, Annual report). It isn't a surprise that in 2004 they were spending over £10m on internet advertising and nearly half of all online advertising is for financial services. These are very direct marketing organisations. They measure and evaluate. They are working online because it works.


At Lego, they recognised the internet is a good way to reach its customers and has encouraged its best customers to participate in product development because they can do that cost effectively now. They run the LEGO Factory which allows customers to design, share and buy their own models. They've created product community sites where people can show off ideas and participate in promotions. They even have Lego Engineering, an online community dedicated solely to educators teaching engineering through Lego. Over 1.2 million people visit this site monthly and spend on average 18 minutes. Lego sees the benefits.


Without giving away what our speakers will be covering, I can say the simple theme that drives good interactive marketing is quite simple. It is commitment.


Having a digital agenda doesn't mean you personally understand the difference between java and .Net — it is simply that you recognise digital channels are important, and you don't let them drop off the agenda.








Our first speaker is from a company that has proven again and again how much they understand digital marketing. The BBC. Unless you've had the bad luck to have been living under a small rock in rural France, you've seen what the BBC has done leveraging their content on digital channels. They have embraced the web, mobile, iTV and Freeview, as well as YouTube, MySpace, MySpace News, MySpace TV, and the list goes on. Sam Smith is Head of Future Media Audiences and, amongst other things, has been nominated for an award from the Marketing Research Society for her paper on "Fragvergence."


Making up our panel we have 3 additonal speakers that will take you through a quick 10 minute case study. To start we have Rufus Olins, Managing Director of Haymarket Brand Media. Haymarket is of course best known for its wonderful online site, Brand Republic, but also for a stable of top quality industry magazines such as Campaign, Revolution, Marketing and Marketing Direct. Rufus knows publishing — he has been at Haymarket for over 8 years, at one time he was a senior journalist at The Sunday Times and was voted best business magazine editor of the year by two of his industry's associations.

Our next speaker is Clive Peoples Head of Customer Communications for Clive has been a speaker at numerous industry events and recently was quoted for the correlation of the impact our mixed summer weather has had on airline sales. He will be speaking on the importance of user-generated content in his business.

Finally Aaron Coldiron the Senior Marketing Manager for Microsoft Vista is dedicated to managing Vista's early adopters — a critical segment for a software product. He has worked at Disney and studied in the UK as a University student. He will speak on a why Microsoft committed to an online / offline 360 campaign, Vanishing Point, as a central part of the launch of Windows Vista.




Sam —

–The BBC has clearly committed to delivering great content even if the distribution is fragmented. The same challenge exists for 360 advertising campaigns. Do your production meetings address the different channels up front, or do you find you are editing and reformationg existing content for different channels?

–Given all of the media choices, how do you decide where to focus?

Rufus —

–Shifting your business from one of primarily weekly publications to constant publishing and community management is a significant shift. What prompted you and Haymarket to make the investment and commit to digital channels?

Clive —

–Back in the early days of ecommerce, we used to talk about having as simple a shopping process as possible to keep down the customers time on site. Do you find you have to make a case for User Generated Content internally? How do you measure the business impact?

Aaron —

–I understand as part of the campaign you gave away Ferrari's to your top technology bloggers. Is this a good representation how seriously Microsoft takes its digital customers?

–As a complex, multi-channel project, Vanish Point could not have been measured on reach and frequency. How did you measure the impact of the campaign?

A Note on Blogging

Blogging may have become a bit like start-ups in 1999 where everyone seems to have one and if anyone mentions the word it at a dinner party everyone rolls their eyes and runs for the bar. Is it narcissic verbosity?  I couldn't disagree more and just came across a great quote to remember from Rory Sutherland who I've got the good luck to go to meetings with on a regular basis. Blogging — before your traffic hits proper media property levels — is definitely "drivel" but still incredibly useful.

RE: Campaign i-Q: Do planners spend too much time blogging? – 28-08-2007 22:22by: Rory Sutherland JP Sartre once observed "I write to discover what I think". At a time when Excel and PowerPoint are the normal modes of communication, and where few in advertising write more than a couple of fully formed sentences or paragraphs from one month to the next, a blog provides a welcome opportunity to write to a decent length.  It is a wonderful value exchange. The blogger gets to refine his thoughts by writing them in longhand and by gaining an immediate and responsive audience. The audience, one hopes, gains a little enlightenment along with an opportunity to refute/nitpick. Nor, to anyone who writes regularly, is it all that time-consuming to write a few hundred words of tolerably grammatical prose each day – not if you do it regularly. I venture many of those who are amazed anyone can possibly turn out a few blog entries each week without neglecting their day job are those people so addled by Powerpoint that they need a lie-down to recover between bullet-points. The more ideas you have the more you write. And vice versa.

BP TargetNeutral

Everyone remembers their first real pitch at a new agency.  At Ogilvy it was BP’s Target Neutral.  Amazing project, amazing creative and even more amazingly, it launched pretty close to what was proposed!

For this project we did the brand mark, site design, online advertising and e-mails.  Great work from Bo and his team.

Here is the final homepage:

BP TargetNeutral Jul07

And some of the functional banners we built to get people to start their carbon calculation in the banner to increase conversion rate:

Target Neutral Banners

Cisco Livecast

Cisco LiveCastThis is one piece that I got to dine out on — even if I have to be honest and say I wasn’t at Ogilvy when it was done.  In fact in my first week back in London I went with the team to the Revolution Awards and this piece one its category as well as the Grand Prix for best of show.

And with good reason.  Great use of technology and digital thinking.

The idea is simple: Cisco had a poor reputation with small businesses for being unapproachable.  Large accounts had dedicated account teams, but small businesses had a harder time accessing Cisco’s security experts.  To counter this, Ogilvy used a web media buy to run a series of livecast Q&A sessions with Cisco experts.  The entire experience occurred in the banner.