Ogilvy & Mather

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Ogilvy & Mather (O&M) describes itself as "one of the largest marketing communications networks in the world [servicing] more Fortune Global 500 companies in five or more countries than any other agency."

"Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide is the agency created by British-born advertising legend David Ogilvy in 1948, virtually from scratch. It now has 35 US offices and a further 359 worldwide in over 90 countries. It was the first agency into China, Korea and Vietnam and is now Asia's largest integrated network; also one of the first into Eastern Europe. Excluding specialised marketing subsidiaries, Advertising Age ranked O&M as the #11 agency network worldwide in 2002 with revenues of $589m."[1]

Going green

In April 2008, Ogilvy "launched its new brand OgilvyEarth to better position itself in the growing green communications and brand management markets. It released results of a survey of more than 50 companies about their attitudes to green branding and the risk of green wash. More than three-quarters think having a positive environmental brand will be essential to their business case within 10 years," reported The Australian. [1]

"While 90 per cent said they had never been accused of green washing themselves, 98 per cent said it existed in corporate Australia, and 74 per cent said it was intentional." [1]

Partnering with China's young communists

The Wall Street Journal reported that China's Ogilvy & Mather office had formed "an unlikely marketing joint venture" with the Communist Youth League of China, called Red Force. "In exchange for helping clients including petroleum and chemical giant Sinochem Corp. and Hong Kong Disneyland make pitches to Chinese shoppers, Ogilvy has groomed more than 3,500 youth-league members in doing promotions and running a business," the Journal reported. [2] "Ogilvy is a member of the WPP Group plc, one of the largest communication services companies in the world. There are more than 60 companies in the group, including J. Walter Thompson, Hill & Knowlton, Ogilvy Public Relations, Millward Brown, Research International, Mindshare, and Enterprize IG. Through the WPP family, Ogilvy has access to top-rated expertise in the communications spectrum, such as design, research, public relations, identity, retail marketing, sales promotion and new media."[3]

Fostering beer sales online

In August 2006, the Australian beer company Foster's launched a web-only advertising campaign. It included "ads on Heavy.com, a music-and-video Web site targeted at young men. ... Foster's ad agency, WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather, will also produce and post on various Web sites a series of comedic videos aimed at promoting Foster's," reported the Wall Street Journal. The web-only strategy, aimed to reach young "men legally drinking beer for the first time," was suggested by Ogilvy. The online videos are "aimed at sparking word-of-mouth buzz about Foster's, by posting videos on Heavy.com and other Web sites. The videos will look homemade to disguise the fact that they're actually commercials." [4]

Tobacco industry ties

Ogilvy & Mather was responsible for organizing media tours of "experts" on indoor air quality for the Tobacco Institute circa 1987. Ogilvy also contracted with the Tobacco Institute to provide public affairs consulting services aimed at helping the Instutitute fight cigarette excise taxes, public smoking restrictions and to help with coalition building issues, as well as public relations support for the Tobacco Industry Labor Management Committee. Ogilvy helped the Institute with developing strategies to fight public health efforts to reduce smoking, as well as development and implementation of various programs and maintaining contact with targeted coalition groups. [5][6]

O&M was both an advertising agency and had its own PR division, run at this time by James Savarese who helped them establish the first Cash for Comments Economists Network which was run through George Mason University with funding from the Tobacco Institute. Savarese later took this Economist operation and the associated Labor Management Committee (LMC) out from O&M and established his own organisation, James Savarese & Associates.

Ogilvy & Mather also helped the tobacco industry devise ad campaigns to take the public's focus off the health hazards of secondhand tobacco smoke by broadening the issue into a larger issue of indoor air quality. O&M helped the tobacco industry re-direct attention from secondhand smoke by publicizing "Sick Building Syndrome," which blamed buildings for making people sick instead of secondhand smoke. Ogilvy devised ads promoting the notion of sick building sydrome with headlines that read, "Before you go into the office this morning, take a good,deep breath of fresh air. It could be the last you'll have all day." and "No Smoking. How do you solve the other 98 percent of the problem?"[7][8][9]

Documents & Timeline

1984 Nov 20 Ogilvy & Mather PR (O&M) is organising for the Tobacco Institute the first economists forum at the Public Choice Society meeting in New Orleans, Feb 21-23. (Note: at this time James Savarese worked for O&M's PR division)

The topic would be "Public Choices About Tax Reform." William F. Shughart II, an economist from Clemson University, would chair the panel. Those who would present papers would be:

  • Thomas Borcherding, from Claremont Graduate School. Subject: "Tax Reform and Simplification: A Public Choice Perspective."
  • Harold Hochman, from City University of New York. Subject: "The Value-Added Tax: Do We Need Another Excise Tax?"
  • Fred McChesney, Emory University Law School. Subject: "Tax Reform in a Rent-Seeking Perspective: The Role of Interests."
  • Gary Anderson, an economist from George Mason University, would be the discussant.

Bob Tollison would be responsible for getting us on the program. He and Jim Savarese would work with each of the people to ensure that each paper contained a clear anti-excise tax message. Shughart and Anderson would also mention excises in their presentations. We will be obtaining CV s from Anderson and Shughart, who Jim and Bob Tollison know well. The other economists have all worked with us before.

Savarese's estimate of the costs for running this Economists' Forum project with the three papers at $2,000 each and Gary Anderson with $1000, plus travel, hotel, administration, etc. was $16,000. [10]

This appears to be the first operation of what was to become the Cash for Comments Economists Network

SourceWatch resources

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 Matthew Warren, "Brand value can come out in green wash," The Australian, April 28, 2008.

Articles and other resources

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