Location: New York
Key executives: John Seifert, chairman-CEO
2012 revenue: N/A
2012 b-to-b revenue: N/A
Key clients: CDW, IBM, SAP, Siemens, UPS
Major 2012 campaigns: CDW, “People Who Get IT,” TV, online; IBM, “Smarter Planet,” TV, print, online; UPS, “We Love Logistics,” TV, online
Comments: Won new accounts including Aetna, British Airways, Caterpillar, Creative Technologies, GE Capital and Qualcomm Snapdragon; launched new practice areas in e-commerce, social and mobile; 60% of business is b-to-b
It was another big year for big ideas from Ogilvy & Mather—the kind of concepts that find the essence of a brand and provide multiple ways to tell its story.
It's an approach that has served the agency and its b-to-b clients—including CDW Corp., IBM Corp., SAP, Siemens and United Parcel Service of America—well: Connect with the audience via a sticky idea; demonstrate the brand's strengths and how it's changing business; repeat in new but equally compelling ways.
For example, the agency last year continued to build on CDW's “People Who Get IT” campaign featuring Charles Barkley. The initial work, launched in 2011, used spot-on humor to depict Barkley as an IT employee at fictional company Gordon & Taylor hired to help it win the corporate basketball league championship.
After the debut work, which generated more than 5 million video views and 100 million impressions, the agency last year placed Barkley on the golf course as Gordon & Taylor's “Client Golfer.” The comedic setup is rich—the worse Barkley golfs, the more business his fictional employer wins—but the concept also allows CDW to get down to the serious business of communicating what its brand is all about.
“These clients are all asking for a continuously "on' ecosystem of content that connects relevantly to their larger purpose and business strategy but is also a true reflection of the personality of their brands,” said John Seifert, chairman of Ogilvy & Mather North America. “When we get that combination of things right ... [and] we have the right idea, lots of neat things happen.”
The strategy has proved successful for Ogilvy, which was named most effective agency in the 2012 Effie Effectiveness Index. New b-to-b accounts landed last year included Aetna Inc., British Airways, GE Capital and Qualcomm's Snapdragon.
Meanwhile, the agency has continued to evolve organizationally to keep pace with an always-changing media and business landscape, launching or expanding practices in areas such as social, e-commerce, mobile, internal communications, multicultural marketing and branded entertainment. It rolled out Social@Ogilvy in February 2012, connecting its social media experts across all areas of its business. It also officially launched eCommerce@Ogilvy and formalized a partnership with IBM to provide technology infrastructure to agency clients.
The moves keep the agency well-positioned for what Seifert hopes is a strong year marked by renewed optimism after the fiscal-cliff jitters the business world experienced late last year. “The commentary I'm hearing from clients is that they are optimistic that there are no really big scary things in front of them,” Seifert said. “The challenge now is ... to act as boldly as their business strategies are defined.”
—Mary E. Morrison