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Steve Simpson

Chief Creative Officer Ogilvy & Mather North America, Worldwide Chief Creative Officer IBM

I am the Chief Creative Officer, Ogilvy & Mather North America.

David Ogilvy had it right when he put it in his typically succinct way: “Every advertisement must contribute to the complex symbol which is the brand image.” A lot of people have made a lot of money tricking out the same idea, but it is really not much more complex than this. Do nothing without knowing who you are, or who you intend to be. No one-offs. No random acts. No art for art’s sake.

While his agency has evolved in countless ways, David would be pleased to see it has held to this disciplined commitment to brands, perhaps better than any firm in the world. IBM and AMEX, I’d suggest, are only the two most obvious cases in point.

For all the changes (most of them wondrous) that have swept through our industry, for all the new tools of surprise and invention we now hold in our hands, brand discipline is today more crucial than ever. People expect more from brands than ever before. They know more about brands than ever before. And they now have more power to engage and influence and reward and punish brands than ever before. It’s time for every brand to know what it’s about.

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