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Rory Sutherland is the Vice-Chairman at media company Ogilvy UK.
After a spell teaching at a grammar school (and finding his colleagues far more challenging
than the pupils), Rory applied to a number of advertising and marketing agencies and was
offered a planning role by Ogilvy & Mather. He was asked to leave the Planning Department
and moved to the Creative Department instead as a junior copywriter. He worked on accounts
including American Express, Royal Mail, and the relatively obscure software company
Despite approaching Microsoft with the idea of a system whereby people could share Office
documents over the nascent internet and being roundly rejected, Rory went on to help found
OgilvyOne, the group’s dedicated digital and direct agency. He remains an advocate of socalled
‘360 Degree Branding’ ensuring brands have a coherent, joined-up presence in all
relevant media areas.
Rory was appointed Head of Copy, and shortly afterwards Creative Director of Ogilvy. He has
also served as the president of the Institute of Practioners in Advertising (IPA) - the first
‘creative’ to do so. Ogilvy is now part of the massive WPP ad and media group and count
Ford, Unilever, IBM, American Express, BP, and British Airways amongst their top accounts.
With characteristic wit and erudition Rory looks at the successes, the failures and the outright
bizarre from the ad world. He analyses what branding means, what creativity is, and the value
of persuasion over compulsion. He considers how the potato was rebranded by Friedrich the
Great of Prussia, the mysteries behind advertising, why the media is like food and why cheap,
imaginative answers can often be better than expensive ones.