Ogilvy & Mather is opening a new international agency called David that will fuse the talents of Latin America's two most creative markets, Brazil and Argentina.
The agency, named after the legendary David Ogilvy, will be headed by Gaston Bigio, an Argentine who is Ogilvy's regional creative director, and two Ogilvy Brazil execs, CEO Fernando Musa and VP Creative Director Anselmo Ramos. David will officially open with offices in Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires in January 2012, with a New York office planned for later in the year.
Although Argentines and Brazilians tend to be fierce rivals everywhere, from soccer to creative departments, the three men have worked closely together at Ogilvy Latina, the agency's Latin American network that has become a hotbed of creativity in the last few years and increasingly takes on international assignments. In a forerunner of David, they pitched and won a Coca-Cola assignment last month to run a global cultural leadership platform.
Ogilvy Latina has been behind creative projects like Brazil's "Whopper Face," in which pictures of consumers' faces are put on their hamburger wrapper, and Argentina's Friendship Machine, a very tall Coca-Cola vending machine that requires two friends to collaborate to reach high enough to retrieve their drinks. Whopper Face proved so popular that Ogilvy developed an app so Burger King can re-create the promotion elsewhere.
Idea born in Cannes
Mr. Musa said the idea for David arose this year at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in the south of France, where they were hanging out and enjoying the pile of Lions won by Ogilvy's Brazil and Argentina offices, musing on the 100th anniversary of the birth of David Ogilvy being celebrated in Cannes, and "we were a little bit drunk."
"It might have been the Lions, or the Cannes atmosphere, or the alcohol," he said. "We thought it was a dream left behind in Cannes, then we started talking about it and said 'let's try to make it happen'. The spirit of the company is David [Ogilvy] before [he started] Ogilvy."
They presented the idea to Ogilvy's regional management, then CEO Miles Young, and WPP CEO Martin Sorrell signed off on it.
This isn't the first time an agency has been named after a legendary founder, or tried to take Latin creative talent global. Results have been mixed. Publicis Groupe backed a Paris shop in 2005 called Marcel, named after Publicis founder Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet. But the founders Frederic Raillard and Farid Mokart decamped after barely a year to do their own Fred & Farid startup and, adding insult to injury, were backed by Publicis rival Havas. (Marcel has made a comeback though). Separately, Lowe Worldwide has tried to capitalize on its Latin talent by setting up Madrid-based Lowe Latina to handle Unilever and win other international business, but also lost much of its top talent soon after opening.
Keeping Ogilvy titles
That may be less likely at David, where all three founders are also keeping their current Ogilvy titles. They are the only ones who will have dual roles. David has already hired Nazia Du Bois, global head of cultural strategy at Ogilvy & Mather, to be David's head of planning, and poached two creatives, Analia Rios and Joaquin Cubria, from creative agency Ponce Buenos Aires to be David's new executive creative directors in Buenos Aires. The David offices, which will be located very close to but not inside Ogilvy & Mather, will have about 35 or 40 people in Sao Paulo and 15 to 20 in Buenos Aires, Mr. Musa said.
"To have a truly global agency, the U.S. is key," said Mr. Ramos, who worked in New York and Miami and became a U.S. citizen before returning to Brazil four years ago. David is also eyeing the U.S. Hispanic market, where the founders already have Coca-Cola experience from Ogilvy Latina. Coke Zero's U.S. Hispanic work is created in Brazil and planned in Argentina, with account service in New York, he said.
David will report to Sergio Amado, chairman of the Ogilvy Brasil Group, with a dotted line to Marcos Golfari, chairman of Ogilvy Latina, Mr. Bigio said.