John Seifert’s Challenge Spurs Comments Of Doom

By SuperSpy 

It’s very rare that Adweek racks up comment threads. However, the recent editorial about John Seifert, The Ogilvy Group’s new North American chairman, being handed the job of “steering the agency through the turbulent economic times ahead” has got readers slamming away on the keyboard. A lot of posts cut to the quick challenging not only Seifert, but Harvey Kipnis, CEO of New York; Ogilvy Group worldwide CEO Miles Young and Carla Hendra, regional CEO. Here’s a round-up complete in all its grammatical glory:

Peter said: “If Seifert is going to turn this ship around, particularly NYC start w Carla, Chris and Harvey. There is zero confidence in the exec mgt group w good reason.”

Red Woman said: “Miles has his work cut out for him. Ogilvy’s problem is systemic: the only people left are enablers who allow the dysfunctional senior management team to propagate their reign of errors. The bosses say jump, the underlings ask how high and everyone knows their place in the pecking order. Any organisation that consistently rejects new ideas and new blood is bound to fail.”

Insider said: “I say we all just let by-gones be by-gones. You can only yell “Ice” so many times and then you have to just let the Titanic sail. Sail Away… Sail Away…”

Fat Bastard said: “isnt this the guy whos married to that disgraced ogilvy swindler, shona seifert? great choice miles.”

Romeo said: “The clock is ticking on Ogilvy. The 21st century operates by a different set of rules. No guts, no tough decisions and the boat will head straight for the bottom. Taking on quite a bit of water in the meantime.”

A Few Rambling Thoughts said: “my impressions having worked there for a number of years….
1. most of the people were well intentioned. hard working and talented. we had a pretty good run for 10 years.
2. there were some stars. really talented people. but not too many.
3. the politics were pretty insane. if you “walked the halls” you did pretty well even if you were incompetent.
4. chris wall is overrated. and a huge detriment to the agency. obviously, you can’t blame him for everything, but the creative product is a big part of it, and he’s responsible for that.
5. the best people have left in the past 2 years. that’s the scariest prospect for ogilvy’s turnaround.
6. there are way too many silos. even though there was the executive partnership on the creative side, chris wall is not an interactive leader. he only cares about TVCs.
7. if ogilvy looses either IBM or AmEx, it’s in real trouble.
8. ogilvy spends too much time on the “science” of communications versus getting on with generating great ideas.
9. ogilvy tolerates prima donnas. they get in the way and force you to expend unnecessary energy on things that don’t matter
10. advertising is dying. and ogilvy isn’t moving fast enough to get ahead of the curve. and it’s clearly paying the price.