Women to Watch 2007

Michelle Bottomley


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NEXT: Carole Walker

Data, strategy and debate top the list of favorite things for Ogilvy's Michelle Bottomley.

Michelle Bottomley, co-president, New York, Ogilvy

After college, while pursuing a doctorate in economics at Boston University, she worked at Liberty Mutual Group analyzing data to predict the business' future. Three years into the job, yearning to understand the relationship between the numbers and the marketing that affected them, she moved to direct-marketing shop Bronner Slosberg Humphrey (now Digitas). There, she helped build the analytics team, and landed at Ogilvy & Mather in 1998. Carla Hendra, just named president of OgilvyOne's New York operation, tapped Ms. Bottomley because she needed a strong strategist.

"Michelle's a great thinker, capable of marrying consumer insights, complex data analytics with real creativity," says Ms. Hendra, president of OgilvyOne North America and co-CEO of Ogilvy North America.

For instance, Ms. Bottomley developed Unilever's Home Basics program by querying the target, busy moms, on a few basic matters, then used the data to build her case for a campaign promoting multiple Unilever products in one media format -- first a glossy magazine, and later a digital newsletter and website. Begun in the late 1990s, the program is still running.

Now, Ms. Bottomley, 42, co-heads the New York office of Ogilvy and runs new-business pitches. With the added title of general manager for OgilvyOne Consulting U.S., she oversees an 80-person unit that serves clients including American Express Co., Allstate Corp. and Aflac.

Marketers today, she says, must take "a big, juicy brand idea" that's connected to a cultural truth and express it in a way that engages consumers and the brand in a dialogue, รก la Dove's "Real Beauty" campaign.

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