Ogilvy execs reach out to bring offices closer

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Their desks are still in New York, but for OgilvyOne Worldwide's Carla Hendra and Bruce Lee and OgilvyInterac-tive's Jan Leth, the office now stretches across the continent.

The three executives are keeping their job titles but expanding their scope from the New York office to all of North America. Ms. Hendra becomes president-North America for OgilvyOne and Messrs. Lee and Leth have been promoted to executive creative directors-North America.

The trio's mission, along with OgilvyInteractive President-North America Jeannette McClellan, will be to increase cooperation among the agencies' various offices, and between direct and interactive operations.

Though the promotions expand their purview beyond New York to Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Seattle and Toronto, Ms. Hendra said the new management structure won't require very many walls to be broken down.


"It's kind of a natural evolution that comes out of who our clients are and how we've set up the North American region," she said, explaining that collaboration on client accounts already is common throughout Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide.

Using the "long hallways" concept coined by O&M CEO Shelly Lazarus -- which encourages offices to work with each other on projects -- Messrs. Lee and Leth said they have in the past tapped into other offices for work on New York accounts.

The two O&M units also have shared work on accounts such as American Express Co., Ameritrade, Arthur Andersen, Content, IBM Corp. and Sears, Roebuck & Co.

"I've actually already been doing lots of long hallway work with Toronto and Cole & Weber, Seattle," Mr. Leth said. "But to date, it's sort of been a one-way street, leveraging resources in their offices. Going forward we'll have to make that a two-way street to help the other offices grow more and leverage New York."


Both New York offices have seen tremendous growth over the past few years, with the interactive arm growing from 12 employees in late 1996 to almost 300 currently, Mr. Leth said. OgilvyInteractive reported $60 million in U.S. revenue in 1998, and OgilvyOne reported $77.2 million.

Because the OgilvyOne and OgilvyInteractive New York offices are much larger than the other North American shops, Ms. Hendra said, the New York operations have been able to invest in consulting and media offerings that help round out the marketing product presented to clients. The new management format should allow smaller offices to tap into those resources.

"We're not trying to force a business model" on other offices, Ms. Hendra said. "We're trying to bring lots of capabilities and quality to the work that's being done in local offices. People are anxious and sort of thirsty for the knowledge."


Mr. Lee sees the creative coordination among the North American offices as a way to foster careers of young employees by providing them an opportunity to experience other offices in the OgilvyOne network.

"It gives us a chance to use some talent that's out there and gives the talent here a chance to work with other businesses," he said. "What we've found is most people, once they have this long hallways experience, everyone profits from it and finds it helpful."

The creative coordination between OgilvyOne and OgilvyInteractive also will help offices such as Chicago or Atlanta leverage the strong interactive experience of the New York office when pitching an account, Mr. Leth said.

Though he isn't out to create a signature creative style at OgilvyInteractive with the expanded creative responsibilities, Mr. Leth looks forward to helping smaller operations learn from New York's experience working on large accounts.


"Other offices with interactive have been focused on extending the offline campaign online," he said. "We've got to extend beyond that and really go into the e-commerce and e-business areas, and get into real [customer relationship management] marketing."

The new organizational format also can help dot-coms like Content, Mothernature.com and Streamline.com that want a local agency but need extensive help developing a brand, a multimedia marketing program and a customer retention plan.

"The new [dot-coms] don't have knowledge of how to a build a brand," Ms. Hendra said. "It's not getting a name and sticking a Super Bowl commercial up. We have actually done [marketing] for long-lasting brands. It doesn't happen by magic."

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