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10 Questions Advertising

10 questions with... James Whatley, planning partner at Ogilvy UK


By Stephen Lepitak, -

March 12, 2018 | 4 min read

The Drum speaks to people across the global media and marketing sector who are bringing something a little different to the industry and talks to them about what little insights they can offer the rest of us. This week's 10 Questions With... features James Whatley, planning partner at Ogilvy UK.

James Whatley Ogilvy UK

10 questions with James Whatley

What was your first ever job?

I was a labourer on a building site in Gibraltar. £1 an hour for concreting in the Mediterranean sun. After that, I came home and got a paper round. 10 pounds a week. I’m from Canvey Island in Essex originally and cycling along the seafront during the winter was not fun, I can tell you.

Why did you get into Advertising?

The train sets are massive.

What’s the most surprising thing you have learned about the creative sector since working within it?

The unbelievable talent you get to work with every single day.

What campaign or work have you most enjoyed being a part of?

Last year, my Ogilvy Trends co-author and good friend, Marshall Manson, and I worked on our first pitch together for IAG’s new airline, LEVEL. It was a great process: good-humoured, stress-light, and well-rehearsed. The team was amazing and, best of all, we went on to win the business. I now work on the account every day - the clients are great and the work is beginning bear fruit.

What have you learned from any mistakes you’ve made in your career?

Always speak your mind. You’ll regret not doing so later and no one will listen if you save your opinion for AFTER the meeting.

iPhone or Android?

Never an iPhone, always an Android. Every time.

Best book you have ever read?

Fiction: The Forever War, Joe Haldeman.

Non-Fiction: Where Good Ideas Come From, Stephen Johnson.

What is the most exciting thing about your job?

If you think of something good enough, it’ll get made. Something, from nothing. I find that tremendously exciting.

If you could ban one buzzword or piece of jargon what would it be?

Less banning, more swapping. It used to be wherever I saw the words ‘social media’ I would replace them with ‘the internet’ and see what change it would make. My latest one is ‘AI’. Swap that out for ‘data’ wherever you see it, see if it makes a difference.

What's the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Move towards things, not away from things.

10 Questions With... will return next week

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