'Cajoling, charming us into effectiveness culture'

Lunch was set for Tim Broadbent and myself in a discreet and superior fish restaurant in the "right" part of Paris.

Tim Broadbent: 'missionary zeal'
Tim Broadbent: 'missionary zeal'

The sell seemed rather a steep one; but a bottle (and maybe a little more?) of Meursault, the sole, the coffee and the cognac dissolved ineluctably into a decision to work together. The difficult part of the sell ("Will you move to Beijing?") turned out not to be difficult at all. Tim loved an adventure, and he signed up.

Tim met China full-on – with inquisitiveness, hunger (spiritually and physically!) and sympathy. He and Kathy felt at home in Beijing; and he was a critical component of our growth. He really brought "effectiveness" to Asia – even measurement at that time was somewhat sporadic and flimsy.

It quickly became apparent to me that Tim deserved a global role. Until his recent illness, he fulfilled that job with missionary zeal – cajoling, evangelising, charming us into effectiveness culture. Strangely, the agency that David Ogilvy had founded on the principle of "selling or else" had lost some of the discipline behind that.

Tim was a great student of advertising history. He loved the fact that Rosser Reeves and David were related, and believed they had much more in common than either ever admitted. He had a particular penchant for the forgotten Albert Lasker, whose wild and autocratic foibles appealed to him.

In the latter years, Tim moved to Southeast Asia and adopted Penang as his home. His sickness did not wear him down until the end. On 7 June, he wrote to some of us saying that he felt the "news was not good".

It was still a shock. I never left his presence without feeling stimulated and refreshed.

We will all miss him hugely.

In the words we used: "Time for a cleansing ale, Tim?" 

"Madness not to," came the reply.

This is a tribute to Tim Broadbent, the global effectiveness director at Ogilvy & Mather, who died last week. Miles Young is the worldwide chairman and chief executive of Ogilvy & Mather.


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