Ogilvy Group

Ogilvy & Mather

Report by Shelly Lazarus, Chairman

Report by Shelly Lazarus (above)

Miles Young, Chief executive officer

Miles Young (above)
Chief executive officer

2008 was a year unlike any in our 60-year history. It was a year that will be remembered for the massive fourth quarter upheaval in financial markets and the shockwaves that reverberated throughout the economies of the world. There were signs of trouble early in the year, but no one could have predicted that they would portend a paralyzing credit crisis, the steepest dive in consumer confidence in more than 40 years, and the most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression. Our industry is at the center of this perfect storm.

As the recession gathered force, we took actions to minimize its impact on our business. Despite our best efforts, client spending cutbacks and delays in new business caused us to fall short of our goals for growth. Yet there were some units and practices that had an exceptional year.

OgilvyOne – our digital, interactive, and direct marketing business – started out the year with robust growth from existing clients and with new business wins. Throughout the year, the OgilvyOne team continued to build its reputation as an industry leader through the work of our network of Ogilvy Digital Innovation Labs, and with our Verge digital media conferences held around the world, despite the fact that new projects were scarce in the fourth quarter.

Ogilvy Public Relations had an outstanding year. The team launched new practices to meet client demand for communication strategy and support in these critical and growing areas. They established a presence in six new locations, bringing their total offices worldwide to 70. Throughout 2008, they grew their business with many existing clients, won several new assignments, and achieved significant revenue growth year-over-year. And we were delighted that Ogilvy PR’s leader, Marcia Silverman, was named 2009 PR Professional of the Year by PRWeek, with one judge noting: “This year caps a long-term stellar career.”

Ogilvy Healthworld continued to grow its capabilities, revenue and profits in 2008. Offering the full range of marketing services – from strategic planning and marketing analytics, to medical education and clinical trial recruitment, OHW brought in new product lines and brands from all the major pharmaceutical companies.

OgilvyAction made important strides in 2008, establishing itself as an industry leader in in-store shopping behavior, extending its presence into new markets, and solidifying relationships with global and local clients. While the team missed the mark on revenues in 2008, they are well positioned for growth in 2009 as changing consumer behavior at point-of-purchase will become critical for clients in the weak economy.

We formally launched our RedWorks production and design unit during this year, calling upon Ogilvy creative veteran, Fred Schuster, to become its first CEO. Focused on high-quality, cost-effective, digital and traditional brand communications, RedWorks’ networked delivery system is a compelling business opportunity, especially in the current environment where clients are demanding quality, value, and efficiency. In 2009, we expect to bring this important platform fully online, integrating across our creative and product hubs around the world to offer a seamless experience and outstanding product.

From a geographic perspective, Ogilvy & Mather Asia Pacific was once again the leading player in the fastest-growing region in the world. Though not immune to the economic downturn, the region managed to grow its revenue and stature, being named Network of the Year in 2008 by both Campaign Brief Asia and by Media magazine. Media magazine named OgilvyOne the region’s top Digital Agency during the year, and crowned Ogilvy Singapore South East Asia Agency of the Year. Singapore also garnered the Agency of the Year title for the second year in a row at the Creative Circle Awards, as well as being named Marketing Agency of the Year by Marketing magazine.

Our colleagues in India were highly decorated with O&M India chosen as the No.1 agency for the sixth year running by the country’s leading business and financial daily, the Economic Times, and O&M Kolkata being named the Advertising Club of Calcutta’s top agency for the third consecutive year.

In Latin America, Ogilvy Argentina, Ogilvy El Salvador and Punto Ogilvy Uruguay each brought home Agency of the Year Awards bestowed upon them by key industry organizations in their countries.

open quoteCreativity is the very soul of our business. Today, it is needed more than ever, and it is needed across a much broader spectrum than ever beforeclose quote

Our talented creative teams captured a major share of the world’s awards for creative excellence and marketing effectiveness: 37 London International Awards; 26 Cannes Lions; 24 Clios (including two Best in Show awards); 15 One Show Pencils; 11 DMA Echos; eight Caples; a D&AD Yellow Pencil; and dozens of the highly coveted Effies for our work in Budapest, El Salvador, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Romania, Ukraine and the US.

Creativity is the very soul of our business. Today, it is needed more than ever, and it is needed across a much broader spectrum than ever before. It is needed to build brands, to instill confidence, and to enlarge the space in which transactions take place.

In 2008, Ogilvy creativity spanned media, disciplines and the globe. Our teams brought the Olympic experience to life for fans around the world on behalf of our client, Lenovo; engaged people in the personal journeys of Louis Vuitton lovers like Catherine Deneuve and Keith Richards; delighted a generation of Canadians by refreshing a cereal brand from their youth with an inventive campaign for new Diamond Shreddies; revived the flagging Capri Sun juice brand and made it cool again with a modern look and irreverent message; inspired people with a new ‘Smart Planet’ initiative from IBM; gave new meaning and momentum to the American Express ‘My Life. My Card.’ campaign with spots featuring cultural heroes such as Tina Fey and Martin Scorsese; commissioned a stage play to bring Dove’s Pro-Age philosophy, ‘Beauty has no age limit’ to a broad audience; produced a British Telecom-sponsored television series to showcase the power of collaboration; delivered 400,000 pizzas in the ultimate sampling campaign for Kraft’s Delissio brand; and more… so much more.

open quoteWhile 2008 was certainly a difficult year, we clearly saw once again how passion, commitment and creativity on behalf of our beloved brands can fuel successclose quote

These investments in imagination and creative quality come back to us in the form of respect for our work, as long-term partnerships and as new business wins. In 2008, we added many new brands to our Ogilvy Group roster including Barclays, British Airways, Europcar, Heineken, IKEA, Johnnie Walker Black Label, ProChile, Siemens, Stolichnaya Vodka, Vodafone and Zurich Financial among others.

While 2008 was certainly a difficult year, we clearly saw once again how passion, commitment and creativity on behalf of our beloved brands can fuel success and change the world for the better. As we charge into 2009, we do so with a new CEO, Miles Young, with whom I am proud to serve in my continuing role as chairman.

I am gratified to have such an ‘Ogilvy’ successor in Miles, someone who in his long career with the company has addressed changing business models and morphing markets – not to mention the ups-and-downs of economies – with clear vision and great ingenuity.

I know, as does Miles, that 2009 will be a profoundly challenging year. But I am optimistic, because I know that our strong culture, our creative spirit and great resolve, as well as the many lessons we’ve learned in 60 years in this business, will serve us well.