Until 2018, Ogilvy Group UK was the umbrella for a collection of ten separate units which worked together to offer fully integrated "360 Degree Branding" for clients. However, despite the historical prominence of the main Ogilvy (or previously Ogilvy & Mather) advertising agency, the real powerhouse of the UK group was arguably its direct and digital division OgilvyOne. A new global strategy adopted in 2017 across the whole Ogilvy network prompted the merger of most of those separate fiefdoms into a single full-service entity. In the case of Ogilvy UK it caused considerable turbulence at an agency that has long struggled with a revolving door of top managers. Annette King, chief executive of Ogilvy Group UK since 2014 and a senior OgilvyOne staffer since 2000, resigned unexpectedly to join Publicis Groupe as UK country leader. She was eventually replaced by Michael Frohlich, previously CEO of Ogilvy PR across the EMEA region, but a succession of other senior managers departed in the months following King's resignation and the divisional consolidation. Dede Laurentino is chief creative officer. Despite the upheaval there seems to have been no apparent impact on financial performance. In 2017, Ogilvy regained a place among the UK Top Ten agencies by billings for the first time in six years. For 2018, Nielsen (in Campaign) estimated billings of £222m, down slightly but still among the Top Ten. Ogilvy & Mather Group Holdings, which serves as the parent of all local activities, reported turnover of £238m in 2018, gross profit of £115m and net profit of £29.5m. The enlarged central Ogilvy business still has a handful of satellite units, notably branding agency Coley Porter Bell, and continues to work closely with other WPP entities like Geometry and Hogarth. The Ogilvy brand was introduced to the UK for the first time in 1965, when David Ogilvy returned to London to acquire the first of the two British agencies which had backed the launch of his Ogilvy & Mather agency in New York a decade earlier. Mather & Crowther became the London office of Ogilvy & Mather in 1965; SH Benson was absorbed in 1972.
Capsule checked 9th January 2020
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Recent stories from Adbrands Update:
Adbrands Daily Update 9th Jan 2020: "They're Boots, Darling". Ah, the parody fashion ad! Always a popular genre, not least because fashion ads are so very very easy to make fun of. Ogilvy London adds to the collection with an excellent mickey-take on behalf of Boots Opticians, the visioncare division of Britain's ubiquitous high street pharmacy. There are some glorious sight-gags here - the opening credit to "Vincenzo Calamari", the balloon dude, the guy on the horse - and all topped off with an catchy little slogan that could easily catch hold among the yummy mummies: "They're Boots, Darling". Splendid!
Adbrands Social Media 19th Jul 2019: "Be Unlimited". Vodafone UK's new marketing chief Maria Koutsoudakis (recruited from M&S) has dumped those cringeworthy Martin Freeman ads and pushed Ogilvy into creating what is probably the mobile provider's best spot for years. Hard to think it's the same agency that came up with the last couple of campaigns. (Arguably it's not, considering Ogilvy went through that dramatic management overhaul last year). It's always a challenge trying to encapsulate all the different services any mobile provider offers these days, but this spot has life and energy and some arresting visual trickery. A new start, perhaps, for the UK's original mobile brand.
Adbrands Social Media 20th Mar 2019: "We Make Gin Not Compromises". It seems very appropriate that the ad for artisan gin Sipsmith is made from that similarly painstaking craft of stop motion animation. It's also pleasantly quirky, in the nature of the product. Ogilvy UK is the agency responsible, with models and animation by many of the team members who worked on Wes Anderson's Isle of Dogs. A lovely piece of work, which emphasises the independent spirit of the brand, despite the fact that it's now owned by global giant Beam Suntory.
Adbrands Weekly Update 1st Nov 2018: Ogilvy UK is seeking to draw a line under over a year of management turbulence with an offer of voluntary redundancy to all 1,200 current employees. The UK business was hit by a string of top-level resignations following the network-wide decision to merge all satellite agencies into a single unified reporting stricture. This new offer is clearly designed to allow any remaining unhappy staff to depart in preparation for a new clean start. However, the move is not entirely altruistic: a source within the agency told The Drum that compulsory redundancies might become necessary if not enough staff take up the offer. John Cornwell, chief operations officer at Ogilvy UK, said: "This offer of voluntary redundancy is the final stage in Ogilvy UK's transformation journey. Our intent is to be as transparent as possible and provide our people with choices as we continue to reshape our business for the future. The intent of these actions is to enable us to reinvest for the future."
Adbrands Weekly Update 9th Aug 2018: Ads Of The Week "I'm Fine". Here's a completely new approach from Ogilvy UK for Dove, produced globally in partnership with Cartoon Network. We're already familiar with Dove's well-established goal of promoting self-esteem among women. In an admirable new initiative, this latest campaign targets perhaps the hardest to reach and also most vulnerable demographic of teenage girls, using animated sequences to embody their innermost fears and concerns. Anyone with a teenage daughter of their own will be familiar with that blank "I'm fine" response, and the ensuing worry that there is more to it than that. Inevitably, social media envy plays a significant role. Here's the first of what will eventually be four films, in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese, for Dove's main global markets.
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