Full-CourtPress: Ogilvy & Mather’s integrated approach scores big results
A group of young creatives gather in a conference room at Ogilvy & Mather’s midtown offices to illustrate a point. Judd Harner, managing director of the Brand Integration Group, draws a wheel on a showboard. The client is the hub; the supporting spokes represent Ogilvy services: advertising, direct marketing, interactive, consulting and design. All of these elements have been brought to bear on a high-profile job; the total redesign and marketing of Brill’s Content. “To change a magazine,” says Harner, “that is powerful.” It also is a case study in how Ogilvy & Mather’s 360-degree brand-stewardship philosophy works.
For starters, the integrated marketing culture comes from the top.
Earlier in her career, worldwide chairman and CEO Shelly Lazarus worked on direct marketing efforts for American Express. Later, she became president of Ogilvy Direct, which morphed into OgilvyOne three years ago. “We’ve always had the capability that goes beyond advertising. We’ve always been thinking more broadly for our clients and their brands,” says Lazarus.
Last year, 100 percent of the New York office’s new business was shared with OgilvyOne, says Tro Piliguian, CEO North America. The integration, say executives, helped Ogilvy & Mather New York, Adweek’s Eastern Agency of the Year, realize a 28 percent increase in billings–to an estimated $500 million–last year. Revenue grew by more than 20 percent, or $200 million.
To prove their dedication to integration, when OgilvyOne was relaunched, Rick Boyko, co-president in New York and chief creative officer of North America, Bill Gray, co-president, and Carla Hendra, president of OgilvyOne, formed a partnership.
“Early on, about two years ago, they were struggling with how to work with each other,” says Piliguian, who put the threesome together. “Now, it’s a well-oiled machine, like they’ve been doing it for 20 years.”
Ogilvy’s integrated efforts for IBM and American Express are models in the industry and helped attract new clients, including Northwest Airlines, BP/Amoco and Miller Lite. The agency won 16 out of 19 new business pitches in ’99.
“It’s been a real jelling of a great idea and a great hope,” says Hendra.
Clients agree. “What I love about them is that they work with you to continue to stretch the limits,” says Ann Fudge, executive vice president of Kraft foods and president of the Maxwell House and Post divisions, “sometimes to the point of [creating] sweating palms. But I like it when you give me sweaty palms.”
Last year, Ogilvy boosted the profile of the Brand Integration Group by hiring senior partner, executive creative director Brian Collins, formerly a creative director on the Levi’s account at FCB San Francisco. The agency also launched OgilvyOne Consulting, which offers strategy in one-to-one-marketing, headed by general manager Margaret Young, a former IBM executive. Other new initiatives include the birth of The Channel Practice, which helps clients choose the best media delivery allocation for their brands.
Responding to the phenomenal growth of the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, the agency introduced Ogilvy Healthcare, which steers drug manufacturers toward alternative as well as traditional media. The unit, led by managing director Mike Guarini, has pulled in an impressive list of new accounts, including WebMD, an online site for physicians and consumers, and Advair, a new asthma drug by Glaxo.
Another key development was adding more than 30 hires to the strategic planning department and shifting global account manager Tony Wright to chief strategy and planning officer.
Ogilvy created a body of work last year that is outstanding and eclectic–from a Jerry Seinfeld bit in a drugstore for American Express to stunning visuals for Jaguar. Unlike other agencies that create work with the consistency of a fingerprint, the Ogilvy reel is essentially untraceable. “Hopefully, we will never have a signature style that one could go and say, ‘Hey, that’s one of Ogilvy’s,’ ” says Boyko. “What I’m proudest of is the diversity of the reel.”
The agency also brought in some new talent. Jeroen Bours, a former McCann creative, was named creative director and teamed with David Apicella to work on AmEx and Miller Lite. Freelancer David Fowler joined in the newly created position of creative director, North America. Jeannette McClennan left her job at interactive ad shop Organic to become president of OgilvyOne’s interactive unit. And David Harris, a leading marketing consultant, joined as senior partner and multicultural media director, overseeing work for new client Office of National Drug Control Policy.
1999 is also memorable due to the passing of founder David Ogilvy at age 88. “You had to pause when David Ogilvy died,” says Gray. “In a strange way, the fact that he checked out when things were going so well with us, doing the kinds of things that he predicted in the ’50s and ’60s and led the rest of the industry, was David’s way in life. He sort of slyly stepped to the side when he saw things going well, so that people in the fray could say, ‘Gee, I really did this.’ “
As a tribute, the Brand Integration Group redesigned the company logo in Ogilvy’s handwriting.
To maintain momentum, the agency will continue to follow its mantra. “We’ve got to keep investing in 360-degree ideas,” says Gray. “We’ve got to keep flogging what we got and not get stale.