I am the Chairman for Europe, Africa & Middle East, and I have been with Ogilvy since 1978.
What's unique about the Europe, Africa & Middle East region is that, although there are many cultural, religious and economical differences, there is "one Ogilvy," all with the same culture, the same values, the same appetite for ideas.
More changes have happened in the last ten years than anyone could have predicted. The numbers and complexity of channels to reach consumers have exploded. This is not just network TV fragmentation or the impact of the digital revolution. It is a fundamental change in how people get information, shop and buy. This has deeply affected what we need to provide and what we need to be.
In this ever-changing and challenging environment, one thing has remained the same. We have to create ideas. Big ideas.
It is even more vital today than in the past. Media fragmentation makes it an absolute priority. Unless we have a truly big brand idea, it is very difficult to break the clutter and to inspire consistent creative executions across all channels. Big ideas have the power to focus arguments. To make messages combine together and hit home harder. To create brand stories. To dramatize brand differences.
More than ever, we need to have in mind what David Ogilvy said half a century ago: "Unless your advertising contains a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night."
My favorite career highlight was when we won Perrier just after the "Benzene crisis," which devastated sales and damaged the image of the brand, particularly in the USA. The objective was ambitious and bold: to re-establish the "natural credentials" of the brand. It needed magic.
We launched a campaign "L'eau, L'air, La vie," which broke all scores in terms of effectiveness, and won many awards around the globe. The most prestigious was the Grand Prix at Cannes for a commercial featuring a woman and a lion fighting for the "green bottle."
My favorite David Ogilvy quote is: "If you always hire people who are bigger then you are we shall become a company of giants."