J-J-Jive Talkin’

To help mask its layoffs and reorg, Ogilvy has adopted the language of tech startups. The agency is now in “perpetual beta,” according to Ad Age.

Starting immediately, the WPP Group-owned agency is trying to get small, requiring that client meetings center around four key people at the table — marketing, creative, strategy and program management — and it will gradually streamline its structure, doing away with many of its 20-plus departments.
Ogilvy already has done a lot to anticipate the post-advertising world. It got out ahead of many of its rivals by investing in a full suite of marketing services, which it combined a couple of years ago under one profit-and-loss statement.

Perpetual beta? Post-advertising world?
I’m starting to wonder where I am.
Where am I?

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. And though Ogilvy is the only large general agency with respectable digital and direct arms, no one’s giving them new business.
    There is a lot of departmental overlap though (and not just at Ogilvy) as all the digital sub-specialties bump up against ATL ones.
    PS: Fix the Ad Age link

  2. @ ps – Fixed

  3. And I’m sure you’ve seen that they just announced a “non-exclusive” partnership with BzzAgent.
    Interesting stuff.

  4. what’s next? upper management mandates that all hats be worn at a jaunty angle.
    i do not miss that pathetic big agency BS.

  5. I admire the thinking, hate the language.
    It shows while there is some good thinking going on at Ogilvy, it’s still mired in BDA bullshit.

  6. >>>>>There has always been a Crispin; there’s always a hot start-up,” said Chris Wall, vice chairman-creative at Ogilvy, New York. “For small shops, the challenge is how to scale. Big brands do big things. … It is easier for us to get small than for somebody small to get big.” >>>>>
    Crispin has moved waaaay beyond being a “hot start-up”. It’s a proven machine that is eating the likes of Ogilvy with ease. Ogilvy is getting small alright. But not out of choice.
    (I feel like George Parker Jr. here!)

  7. Hey veedub… What the fuck is wrong with being George Parker Junior??? But all the comments here are dead on. You can re-invent, re-name, re-up, or re-down… The bottom line is… If you haven’t picked up a major piece of business in four years, you are not only not doing something right… You will end up fucked… Probably by the ‘Poisoned Dwarf!” Ouch, fucking Ouch!

  8. felt kinda good actually george!