Blow for DDB as Ogilvy’s creative trio scoop $500m Philips global account

Something seems to be stirring under the bonnet of the stately Ogilvy & Mather limousine (‘At sixty miles an hour the loudest…) as the WPP-owned agency has added to its triumph in sharing the $1bn SC Johnson account with Omnicom’s BBDO by pinching $500m Philips from Omnicom’s DDB, the incumbent since 2003.

If this is good for Ogilvy it’s a kick in the unmentionables for DDB which was dumped by another of its biggest accounts $300m Bud Light in October (the business has moved to Mcgarrybowen). DDB, which has handled Philips since 2003, didn’t even make it to the last two of Ogilvy and Omnicom’s TBWA apparently, going out in the semi-final along with Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett.

According to Ad Age, Ogilvy fielded three top creativos in the final pitch, Steve Simpson from the US, Gerry Human from London and Graham Fink (pictured) from Shanghai. Fink’s presence is interesting, when he left M&C Saatchi in London for the top creative job at Ogilvy in China there was much scratching of heads. “Must be the money,” they said.

Well the money probably was and is impressive but Fink seems to have repaid a big chunk of it. Credit should also go to to urbane Brit Miles Young, CEO of Ogilvy. Young succeeded Shelly Lazarus as CEO in 2009 after making his name running the network in the Far East.

Winning an account like Philips is one thing, producing some decent work quite another. In many ways Philips is a miraculous survivor, hanging on in the electronics business against the all-conquering Japanese and Koreans. Persuading the Chinese and Indians to buy Philips is going to be stiff task, even for man of the world Graham Fink.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.