OGILVY CLIENTS TALK ABOUT THE AGENCY AND ITS WORK: PARTNERSHIPS AND BRAND-BUILDING ARE STRESSED
Carl Gustin Jr.
Chief Marketing Officer-Senior VP, Eastman Kodak Co.
There are two areas where Ogilvy stands out from the pack: First, they are incredibly good at discovering and leveraging customer insights. They have a talent for finding the compelling factors that get customers to move and for isolating the key factors, especially that core "Aha" factor. Then they push against that in all their work.
Second, they're truly a brand management agency. They approach brand development from a lot of different angles, enabling them to keep a brand relevant.
In today's markets, where the rate of change is so much faster than it was 10 or so years ago, making your brand relevant to changing conditions is increasingly important.
Those are their two biggest strengths. But another advantage is the fact that Shelly Lazarus [chairman-CEO] is a true business person. She's good at advertising and marketing, of course, but she's a business person as well. It starts with her, and everyone in the agency has a business perspective.
When they pitched the account about four years ago, they pointed out to us that we are in the picture business, not the memory business or the digital business. They pointed out that everything we do is pictures. So, they said, we've got to get people to understand what they can do with these pictures.
They observed that billions of pictures are taken per year, but people do not do much with most of them. So O&M built a whole set of core equities around taking pictures and getting people to do more with pictures. These are ideas that give us a lot of growth. You have to have a lot of insight into the dynamics of the business to market like that. And that starts with Shelly and works all the way down.
CREATIVE AND CONSISTENT
Their creative is second to none. What makes it so good is that it's completely different, depending on the situation they're addressing. There are no formulas, no standard look. For Kodak, they've developed ads for completely different products, targeting different segments, yet they retained consistency.
That takes really talented people. For example, they did a series of six TV spots for us called "Tall Tales," designed to make our brand more appealing to a younger segment. The commercials are fast-moving and hip and support the tagline: "Take pictures. Further."
E. Peter Elwood
President, Lipton-Canada Division of Unilever
I've worked with Ogilvy for more than 25 years, and when I think of Ogilvy, the first thing that comes to mind is the quality of their people, particularly their strategic abilities. Through good training, they've come to understand our industry and have a good sense of how we look at business. Therefore, they're able to place advertising in a strategic framework. They understand the complete strategy of our business and see advertising's role within that strategic framework.
Second, they have a process for attacking advertising problems. They're particularly good at focusing on a single core advertising idea, which leads to clarity of the advertising message.
Also, they provide excellent value for the money. They're able to engineer commercial production costs that are lower than those of other agencies for similar work.
I think they did some of their most creative work for Lever Bros.' Dove soap in Canada back in '91. Previously, we had done testimonials, and we decided Dove should have a refreshed, more aggressive approach to build our business in the face of a new competitor entering the market. So we decided to capitalize on a Dove advantage that we had never talked about before: The fact that Dove was milder than other soap.
O&M-Toronto developed TV advertising that used a litmus test that showed, simply and graphically, that Dove was mild and other soaps were harsh. The campaign got massive attention and won Marketing magazine's award in Canada as the best commercial of 1991. More important, it built our business dramatically and immediately, as measured by shipments and a massive increase in share.
President, Maxwell House and Post Cereals Division of Kraft Foods
We've worked with O&M since 1956, and the two chief qualities I think of right away are: (1) They're real business partners, and (2) perhaps even more important, they listen. They're not an agency that comes in saying: "We've got this great creative idea for you," that tries to sell you on something. With O&M, there's a partnership; we work together.
Are we stretched and challenged sometimes by their creative ideas?
Absolutely. But we feel we get to the best place because we have a partnership, an exchange of ideas. As our business partners, they not only develop creative, they also think strategically about where we need to go, what we need to do next to continue to be successful in the category.
We launched the current Maxwell House campaign late in '94, and it's done great things for the business. That's the ultimate test of how well the creative works at building the business. It's helped build our share and our volume, and our profits are up; it's working. They brought back the "Good to last drop" slogan and the perking-pot music a lot of the elements that convey what Maxwell House is all about.
In fact, the Maxwell House campaign actually is a whole communications program that goes beyond TV ads. It includes our big sign in Times Square, lots of billboards and radio spots in local markets; we've even painted an el train in Chicago.
VOTE OF CONFIDENCE
Perhaps our best vote of confidence for O&M occurred earlier this year when Ogilvy picked up our Post cereal business. The first spot they did for Post was on our annual program with Second Harvest, designed to feed a million people with Post cereals. O&M did a fabulous campaign, with ads that utilized employees from Post plants. The campaign went beyond the idea of just selling cereal. It underscored the idea of Post as a caring company, a company that understands and cares about our customers.
Senior exec VP-marketing, Sears Roebuck & Co.
Our partnership goes back to 1961 when David Ogilvy helped develop ads for Sears corporate as well as key brands such as Kenmore. O&M has been an important strategic partner for Sears over the years. Today they handle a wide range of assignments, including Kenmore, Craftsman, Die-Hard and Sears Auto Centers.
Ogilvy brings a strong balance of historical perspective and fresh thinking to our partnership. They provide very good strategic insight, and they understand the tactical pressures of retailing. They are focused on both brand-building and driving traffic, which is critical to an enterprise like Sears.
A CREATIVE FLAIR
So Ogilvy brings a creative flair to advertising that is solidly grounded in consumer needs. Over the years, O&M has helped us develop some exciting campaigns. One recent example is the Kids Holiday advertising. This campaign uses pint-size presenters to help sell big-ticket merchandise such as dishwashers, microwaves and other appliances. The campaign has been successful so far, and, based on this success in the hard lines area, we plan to use it even more broadly in the future.
Overall, there's a real sense of partnership at all levels of the agency. Senior management is very involved in our business, and they're backed up by very strong functional teams throughout the agency. The entire relationship from top to bottom is characterized by a strong sense of teamwork. You really get the impression that Ogilvy cares about the Sears business.
In summary, we've enjoyed a strong, long-term relationship with O&M. They are an important parClients
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of our history. But just as important, they are a critical partner in the current transformation of Sears.
Our relationship with O&M goes back more than 40 years to the early '50s, when we worked with Carson/Roberts, which was acquired by O&M in 1968. Over the years, they've worked with us to really understand the underpinnings of the brands we're building all around the world and helped us to build Barbie into a $2 billion brand.
THEY UNDERSTAND KIDS
The advertising has made that much more relevant because of their understanding of kids. We were the first children's' advertiser in '55 on the "Mickey Mouse Club" TV show. That really started the whole business of advertising toys to kids.
Their expertise in terms of media buying as well as creative also has been a tremendous aid to us in building the power of our brands around the world.
BARBIE CAMPAIGN CITED
The best example of their creative ability I can cite is a Barbie campaign they developed in the mid-'80s called "We girls can do anything." This campaign totally changed the image that moms around the world had of Barbie, primarily because it was an aspirational cry for girls. O&M came up with that positioning and that creative, and I still think it's one of best advertising campaigns ever developed around a brand that is marketed to children.
And it was very effective. We went from a positive rating of 50% of moms thinking Barbie is a good role model for their kids to about 98% of them thinking Barbie is a good role model. Best of all, our business more than doubled in the ensuing five years.
VP-corporate marketing, IBM
We made the decision four years ago to go with O&M for two main reasons: (1) We were looking for a global partner in the truest sense. We are a global business, so we wanted a global partner. Because O&M has grown up as a global network, its offices have a similar culture to ours, They have a passion for building brands, a common way of working.
RE-ESTABLISHING THE BRAND
And (2), we wanted an agency that would operate as our strategic marketing partner and would strengthen our brand around the world. As our partner, they've helped re-establish our brand as a global technology leader.
To do this, they've developed some outstanding creative. Their TV work has been terrific and memorable. Print is always a more difficult medium for technology advertising, so they put a big focus on print in the past year, and they've brought it up to the excellent level.
Among their TV campaigns, one standout was our "Subtitles" campaign, which ran for two years. It showed people all across the world talking about technology. That advertising was quite distinct, unlike anything that had come before. It gave us good identification and reinforced the global aspect of our business. And its use of humor created a personality for the brand.
FOCUS ON INTERNET
A second major campaign, which is still running, is our business marketing effort, focusing on the evolution in use of the Internet and networking. It depicts how business is being transformed by Internet-based computing and establishes IBM as a leading company in determining how businesses use technology. That advertising has some similarities to "Subtitles" in that its tone and manner are situational, using humor and engaging people. It's been running to much acclaim.
We have some strong personalities on our team, which is healthy; they have passionate views about what strategies we should be taking.
Steve Hayden [president-worldwide brand services] has provided the overall creative leadership for the past couple of years. He's brought in a strong team. We have healthy debates that produce great work. We may fight hard on certain points, but this results in output of a high standard. Steve and others on the O&M team have the ability to take complex topics and convert them to absorbing commercials or comprehensible copy.
President-CEO, Hahn International
Until a few months ago, I was CEO of Cotton Inc., and I've been involved with Ogilvy & Mather for about 25 years. They have an extraordinarily high sense of integrity. As a client, you are given a feeling of confidence when you deal with an agency like that. You know that everything they say and propose is accurate, well conceived, well negotiated.
And we found that when we wanted fresh thinking or new directions on the creative side, they came up with it.
DEVELOPING SINGLE THEME
For example, about 12 years ago, we decided to step away from our co-op advertising with manufacturers who used cotton in their products, going instead to strictly generic advertising. Cotton is ubiquitous, used in everything from slacks to underwear to sheets. We wanted O&M to develop a single theme that would transcend that vast variety of end uses, and that was not easy.
We spent many months brainstorming, but they came up with the theme: "Cotton. The fabric of our lives." It evolved from the fact that from the moment you're born you're wrapped in a cotton blanket, and this continues throughout your life, with jeans, socks, sheets, towels, all the textile products that people take for granted.
That theme was the turning point in our communications strategy, and Cotton Inc. continues to market under that theme.
VP, general manager-chocolate marketing, Hershey Chocolate USA
The ogilvy & mather people are the ones who got us into advertising in 1969, launching us into the modern era. Over these nearly 30 years, we've developed a great mutual understanding of how each other works, and they've done some great campaigns for us.
For example, they launched Reese's peanut butter cups with the famous "Collision" campaign using the lines "You've got chocolate in my peanut butter"/"You've got peanut butter in my chocolate." Then, about 10 years ago, they switched to an evolutionary successor campaign: "There's no wrong way to eat a Reese's." These efforts have driven Reese's to the No. 1 confectionery brand.
CAMPAIGN FOR KISSES
They've had similar success with their ["The Great American Chocolate Bar"] campaign for the basic Hershey bar [with the theme song]: "There's nothing like the face of a kid eating a Hershey bar." They've also created great campaigns for Hershey's Kisses, both the print ads with the white space and the small Kisses and TV ads with the animation. We're maintaining the Kisses theme because it still has legs. But they've done new work for basic Hershey bar with the "Change is bad" campaign, and for Jolly Rancher candies, a brand we acquired last year, as well as for ReeseSticks, our great success this year.
Not only has there been a continuity in the corporate relationship between Hershey and O&M, there's been continuity in personnel. I've worked continuously since 1975 with Mike Vaughn [senior partner, executive group director], who heads up the Hershey business at O&M.
We have a pattern of working and respect on both sides. It makes the process more productive, and they've done great work all along the way.
We work in a team environment. Partners is a word that gets overused; I see us as allies. We share the major goal of driving the brand.