Ogilvy Looks to the Future as It Celebrates Its 70th Anniversary

Agency asked employees where the industry will be in 7 decades

David Ogilvy founded the agency 70 years ago. Ogilvy

Sunday marked 70 years since David Ogilvy founded the agency that bears his name, but Ogilvy is celebrating this week by looking to the future.

While the agency is taking a brief look back at its history, via a timeline, and sharing quotes and memos from its founder, the majority of the agency’s 70th anniversary will be squarely focused on the next 70 years.

Ogilvy chief communications officer Jennifer Risi told Adweek Ogilvy is “very uniquely positioned” as one of the industry’s oldest agencies, adding that it utilized its brand repositioning in June to help with the anniversary celebration.

The agency will showcase the evolution of its logo as a way to “segue into the future,” Ogilvy Worldwide head of social media and content distribution Adam Kornblum explained.

“We wanted to create a moment that was future-focused. We had an amazing 70 years. What’s next?” Risi said. “We thought who best to ask but the next generation of our leaders as well as some of our current leaders today.”

So the agency asked employees to make predictions about Ogilvy to represent in the future and what they’d like it to be.

“We invited every person in the company to participate in this campaign,” Risi said. “The most important asset we have as a company is our people, and we want them to be engaged and invested in where we’re going. And so, getting their point of view on this was very important.”

The agency’s look forward will also include a Twitter poll about where the industry will be in 70 years, something that simultaneously honors Ogilvy’s roots.

“David initially started working with George Gallup, so the Gallup polls were truly important to him,” Kornblum said. “Using a polling feature on Twitter actually indirectly coincides with David’s beliefs.”

Following the agency’s brand repositioning, Ogilvy looked ahead to 2020 and pledged to hire 20 women in senior creative roles by the end of that year as part of a commitment to diversity.

“We’re planning our future right now,” Risi said. “The entire refounding, next-chapter transformation strategy was all about ensuring the survival of the company.”

@ErikDOster erik.oster@adweek.com Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.