School Reports 2013: Ogilvy & Mather Advertising


Score: 5  Last year: 6

Change was in the air at Ogilvy & Mather last year. Periods of calm were punctuated by spasms of activity that, more often than not, related to a senior member of its team removing a jacket from an office chair on their way out of Canary Wharf.

Top of the list was the chief executive, Hugh Baillie, who exited in May. There seemed to be frustrations on both sides as the agency struggled, and Baillie too, with convincing UK clients that the Docklands-based shop was something more than a faceless outpost of a global network.

Baillie wasn’t the only one to leave. The creative director Andy Bird had left the previous month for an executive creative director job at Publicis. Then, in September, the planning director, Rachel Hatton, departed.

Despite this instability, O&M did make some headway in capturing domestic new business: landing the Kronenbourg 1664 account from Bartle Bogle Hegarty and also winning the TK Maxx advertising business. Its largest piece of new business came in the shape of a global brand brief for InterContinental Hotels Group in June as part of a wider WPP win.

The agency’s only loss was the Mondelez International brand Toblerone, which moved its business to Mcgarrybowen. A shame given the potential creative opportunity that the account provides.

In March, O&M made what seemed like a shrewd investment in a behavioural sciences offer called #OgilvyChange, with the strategy director, Jez Groom, taking a lead role.

Another positive was its strong work yet again for Dove – resulting in the lauded "ad makeover" Facebook campaign. Aside from this, its creative highlights were few and far between.

The creative chief, Gerry Human, has a challenge to improve this situation in 2013. To make O&M London a real part of the creative revival that saw the network scoop 83 Lions at Cannes last year. After the departure of the managing director, Jaimes Leggett, earlier this year (replaced by the promoted Rob Smith), a period of management stability wouldn’t go amiss either.

Ogilvy & Mather Advertising
Type of agency Advertising
Company ownership WPP
Key personnel Paul O’ Donnell chairman
Gerry Human chief creative officer
Judy Mitchem managing director and chief marketing officer, Ogilvy Group
Rob Smith managing director
Jez Groom director of strategy integration
Nielsen billings 2012 £132m
Nielsen billings 2011 £173m
Declared income n/s*
Total accounts at year end 27
Accounts won 3 (biggest: InterContinental)
Accounts lost 1 (Toblerone)
Number of staff 274 (+6%)

Score key: 9 Outstanding 8 Excellent 7 Good 6 Satisfactory 5 Adequate 4 Below average 3 Poor 2 A year to forget 1 Survival in question

Footnote: *indicates where agencies claim the corporate governance constraints of the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation.

How Ogilvy & Mather rates itself: 6

"Another strong year of growth. As CEO, Paul O’Donnell focused on bedding-down global giants, Philips and SC Johnson. The Kronenbourg win was significant, meeting one of our key objectives of securing a prestigious UK account. Our executive creative director, Gerry Human, added creative firepower, resulting in a record number of awards in Cannes. We also won The Arden Award at Campaign BIG for Dove’s digital "Ad Makeover" campaign."