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Introduction – Tham Khai Meng

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Introduction – Tham Khai Meng

In December 1911, an article appeared in the New York Times about plans for a new building on 11th Avenue. It promised to be the architectural marvel of the age. It would be 11 stories high, take up a whole block and include a radically new fire-fighting technology known as "sprinklers."

It was the new factory for the world-famous chocolate manufacturers D. Auerbach & Sons. They called it the Largest, Most Modern, Up-to-Date, Daylight Candy Factory in the World.

I sit and write the words to this foreword in that very building. The Chocolate Factory. There is a plaque on the outside of our building commemorating their story. They moved here because they had grown so fast that their old factory on West 39th Street was bursting at the seams.

The secret of their success was simple and time-honored. They observed the advice of Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door."

D. Auerbach & Sons had the best product. They put more pure chocolate in their bars than any of their rivals. They constantly innovated, filling their shop window with new lines flavored with raspberry, pineapple, mint, coconut and even marshmallow.

It pleases me to think as I walk past the plaque that the mantra of "Growth through Great Work" is hardwired into the very bricks of the Ogilvy Head Office. It is especially pleasing to pen these words sharing a desk with my partner and our CEO, John Seifert — a man whose commitment to that mission is as passionate as mine.

Of course, it may seem like an uncomplicated strategy, and indeed it is. But sometimes it is easy to forget the simple things. Making the best product is still the most surefire road to success. Great products generate satisfied customers and lead to the best marketing there is: word of mouth.

We don't make chocolate in the factory, we create ideas. That's harder. Creative advertising ideas contend in a ruthlessly competitive ecosystem in which the pressure to stay at the forefront is relentless and unforgiving. It's a world where so-called "cutting edge" this year is soon old hat. A world where we are never allowed to sit still, never have a moment's peace or time to rest and savor the rewards along the way.

The ideas we produce have one single-minded purpose: to help grow our clients' business in tangible ways that powerfully impact the bottom line. And to do it using brilliantly innovative, uncompromising creative solutions that achieve this effect as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. And to do it better than any of our competitors could do it.

This is what we mean by "great work." It's the best investment for the future we can make. It attracts great clients — the ones who want the cutting-edge work. This enables us to spend our days doing great work and, in turn, attract the best talent. It's a virtuous cycle.

This book is our shop window, a showcase of great work born of talent, toil, courage, dedication and far too many long nights at the office. I hope it will amuse and entertain you.

More importantly, I hope it will inspire you to confront a formidable challenge that now faces us. We find ourselves in the midst of a tornado of technological change. AR, VR, the Internet of Things, the age of screens … new platforms are appearing constantly. The world no longer needs physical mousetraps — they want VR mice and AR traps, or Pokémon gyms.

This was the year of the Pokémon GO craze, and yet this edition of The Best of Ogilvy contains no AR and no VR. We must do everything in our power to remedy this. In next year's book, let us see all these new platforms and digital technologies.

This is the challenge I throw down to you.

I won't tell you how to do that. David Ogilvy outlined the recipe many years ago with a piece of advice that never went out of fashion: "Don't bunt. Aim out of the ball park. Aim for the company of immortals."

I would like to thank you all for daring to think big and creating the outstanding work you see before you. I would like to thank our clients for having the belief and trust in us, and John for his unstinting support and for putting creativity at the forefront of everything we do. Thanks also to the Worldwide Creative Council for helping me select the work.

I hope this book will challenge and inspire you to produce more great work in the coming year.

And if the going gets tough, as it surely will, remember the old saying: If at first you don't succeed, have some chocolate.

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Tham Khai Meng

Co-Chairman & Worldwide Chief Creative Officer

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