'Goodbye Mather': Ogilvy announces sweeping rebrand and organizational renovation

Ogilvy formally announced the a top-down agency refresh, including organizational structure changes and new visual identity. / The Ogilvy Group

Ogilvy formally announced an internal redesign of its organizational structure and an external brand refresh.

The culmination of an 18-month journey by Ogilvy chief executive John Seifert, he considered the transformation the largest in the agency’s 70-year history. Seifert said: “To meet the changing needs of our clients, we’re taking a bold step to redefine our company and build a new model for our industry.”

Two months ago in a similar announcement to his staff, Seifert sent a similar message centered on Ogilvy’s “next chapter”, and announcing the launch of a 900-person “marketing technology center of excellence” in response to the transformation plans clients were building up in an effort to “figure out how best to innovate and grow within an increasingly digital, social, data-driven and disruptive business environment.” It was the first announcement made by the agency since Martin Sorrell's abrupt exit, which only further shook up the landscape at WPP. Earlier this year, the holding company had already announced the consolidation of branding practices and public relations firms.

Now, this larger "new Ogilvy" has been described by the agency to contain a newly-unified structure, pulling together digital arm OgilvyOne, Ogilvy Advertising and Ogilvy PR under one Ogilvy Group roof to address the need for more integrated marketing solutions, through a five-pillar system for the WPP agency.

First, a new organizational structure changes the more traditional discipline structure into 12 different “crafts” that fall into six core capabilities of brand strategy, advertising, customer engagement and commerce, public relations and influence, digital transformation, and partnerships.

Second is an expanded consulting offering that has evolved from the company's OgilvyRed practice. Called Ogilvy Consulting, the new facet of Ogilvy’s business has been said to work horizontally across the business, providing consultation in digital transformation, growth, business design and innovation.

Third, a global digital platform called Connect was established to aid knowledge-sharing, professional development and customized community networking through the Ogilvy network.

Fourth, a new partnership model was established. In a statement, Ogilvy said: “This will ensure that the diversity of our leadership – across markets, capabilities, and generations – better represents our brand for the greater good of the company today and tomorrow.”

Fifth, the Ogilvy site and visual identity has undergone under a top-down refresh. Created with the help of independent design firm Collins, the logo has been simplified. The shade of red tied to the Ogilvy brand has been brightened in a different Pantone shade and accompanied by a palette of gray, pink, blue and yellow. The agency’s brand fonts has been adapted and customized, now called Ogilvy Serif and Sans. The company’s website also was redesigned with a minimalist interface, that the agency called “a dynamic destination, showcasing the breadth and depth of the agency’s creative work, talent, and thought leadership.”

Tham Khai Meng, the new Ogilvy Group’s chief creative said: “Our creativity is the foundation of Ogilvy’s global network and the most powerful competitive advantage that we have. We are building on the creative heritage of David Ogilvy to fuel our future.”

Seifert added: “Today, there are more opportunities than ever before to shape every aspect of a brand’s needs. The scale and diversity of our global network is the source of our strength. At Ogilvy, we design the components of a brand, create experiences around a brand, and communicate about a brand. Our new organizational design will empower our people to put clients at the center and create sustained brand value on behalf of our clients for years to come.”

For the first time since 1850, when the Ogilvy Group was Mather and Crowther, the Mather name is no longer listed in lockstep. Although not much was known of the co-founder of the WPP agency, Ogilvy had been quoted from the 1980s in the biography King of Madison Avenue as saying: “It is a terrible mistake to change a company's name," according to Kenneth Roman's informative book. "But if you do change it, you don't need the Mather."

Get The Drum Newsletter

Build your marketing knowledge by choosing from daily news bulletins or a weekly special.