Life Is a Cabaret for Search Consultants Visiting Ogilvy

Agency Puts on Show for Adforum Visitors

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What if you came to work in the morning only to be greeted by drag queens, waiters holding silver platters of drinks and a live jazz band playing sultry numbers? Probably look in the mirror to see if you'd morphed into Liza Minneli circa three decades ago. But you might just be an agency search consultant.

Ogilvy Creatives Tham Khai Meng and Steve Simpson
Ogilvy Creatives Tham Khai Meng and Steve Simpson
Ad execs are chattering about some of the very theatrical props Ogilvy & Mather used this week in a bid to get consultants from around the world to (ahem, to borrow a phrase from AT&T) "Rethink Ogilvy." The consultants, who are attending the annual Adforum event in New York City, have had a packed schedule visiting agencies such as Y&R, Saatchi & Saatchi, Droga5, Publicis Worldwide and CHI & Partners all week. But for better or worse, they likely remembered the first presentation on Monday morning by Ogilvy best.

According to reports, when the consultants arrived, they were startled to see an oversize bouncer who escorted the group past velvet ropes into a "nightclub" -- aka, a dimly lighted room at the agency decorated with garish wallpaper and small cocktail tables and given a smoky cabaret feel. Top executives at the WPP shop donned black-tie attire, with the women in sparkly dresses, to talk to the consultants about things like Ogilvy's improved new-business record and the growth of the mobile market in China.

The concept was to prove that Ogilvy isn't the agency you'd expect it to be anymore. To that end, there were rumors of an elderly "little person" trotted out at one point, but an Ogilvy rep denied it.

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