Last week, we hosted an open platform for anyone to ask Miles Young, worldwide CEO and Chairman of Ogilvy & Mather, questions. Here’s what Miles thinks about integration, what makes a great idea great and why he’d never dream about getting a “real job”:
Miles Young: The future doesn’t lie with “pure plays”; rather the model working is integration of specialists under one roof.
Miles: A good idea always rises above the mediocre. So we just need to keep on doing better work.
Alan Edgar: From a global view, do you believe the rise in digital is killing all the other traditional CRM/DM channels?
Miles: No, rather it is giving them new life, real connectivity and just in time measureability.
Ricki Allemann: Who is Mather?
Miles: This Mather came from London to Scotland in 1850s and set up an advertising agency which later merged with David’s.
Cate Williams: What’s your favourite part of Joburg so far?
Miles: Too early to tell – only arrived at 22:30 last night!
Nimay Parekh: what do you make of our 8habits installations?
Miles: I’m going right out to see them after this
Clement Nkoko: What’s it like sharing an office with Tham Khai Meng?
Miles: It is a wonderful experience; it means we each know what is in the other person’s mind.
Kate Mallet: Is this your first visit to SA?
Miles: No, I’ve been here twice before. I’m looking forward to coming much more often.
Dave Alves: Should Social Media as a specialty sit within Interactive or PR, or simply be one with the entire agency as a whole?
Miles: Very much the latter; it is a part of all the conventional disciplines.
Willem Labuschagne: If you could give a rad TED talk, what would you talk about?
Miles: I would talk about the relationship between belief and creativity.
Abey Mokgwatsane: What in your view is the next game changer in the marketing services industry?
Miles: Mastery of “deep content”.
Jean-Michel Wickli: Do you find there is a shortage of digital talent, thus the need to approach specialist agencies?
Miles: Yes to the first; no to the latter – the best talent finds integrated agencies more fulfilling.
Tarryn Pitchers: What is the most memorable campaign you’ve ever worked on?
Miles: The Guinness campaign which won us back the business in London in the 1980s.
Morgan McGowan: What do you get up to in your spare time? Do you have any interesting hobbies?
Miles: I’m involved in New York’s Design Museum, and also am a spice farmer.
Polelo Masola: What is needed to build a great advertising firm?
Miles: Talent, talent, talent.
Wayne: Where do you see digital skills best aligned, in media agencies for 360 media planning or creative agencies?
Miles: They belong in both; it’s not either/or.
Jean-Michel: What should people involved in advertising watch, read & investigate to inspire them. And what inspires you?
Miles: They should search out the very best work in the industry and soak it up. It inspires me.
Genna Hansen: If you had to give one tip on how to thrive in advertising, what would it be?
Miles: Ensure that you have some balance in your life.
Julian Ribeiro: What’s the best piece of work you’ve seen across the Ogilvy network this year?
Miles: The Tunisian Spring event.
Andile Khambule: What are your expectations of African agencies in the Ogilvy network?
Miles: To build Ogilvy culture, and to do the best work in their own markets.
Tiaan de Kock: Do you believe that the future of advertising is in social, and the information is provides on consumers?
Miles: Not entirely; main purpose of advertising still remains the generation of awareness & imagery
Miles: Culture and values – including commitment to creative excellence.
Akona Ndungane: What attracted you to join the world of communication?
Miles: The people in it – I love people and this is the ultimate people business.
Alan Edgar: If you have / had kids would you encourage them to go into advertising? Or get a real job.
Miles: I don’t. But if I had, I would – not real, but a great job!
CodeRedComms: From the “8 Habits Of Ogilvy,” what does playfulness mean to you?
Miles: Ultimately, it means being prepared to break the rules.
Genna Hansen: What makes a good creative idea, great?
Miles: The degree of originality, both of the idea itself, and in the execution.
Bridget Johnson: How do you define a great idea?
Miles: An unexpected combination of two previously unconnected things.
Dave Alves: What role do you think Social Media plays in the marketing space for brands?
Miles: Essentially, popularising the idea and validating the proposition.
Wayne: I’m sitting in Canary Wharf right now, and you in Joburg, can we swap?
Miles: Not at the moment, thank you! Better weather here.
Polelo Masola: What are the core values that make you wake every morning and smile?
Miles: An intrinsic sense of optimism. And a belief that individual effort makes a difference.
Wayne: How would you rate South Africa creatively when compared to London or New York?
Miles: Very positively. In fact, I think that the “big TV” is often better.
Nimati Emam: Do you think planners should work across the different communication disciplines or is specialisation better for planning?
Miles: At a brand level, I tend to think the latter. At a corporate level, tend to the former.
Polelo Masola: How do you measure talent? Is talent equal to qualification from Vega or AAA or is about passion?
Miles: I think it is about energy and drive; this differentiates. Much talent is simply a commodity.
Andile Khambule: What do you love about work from South Africa’s network?
Miles: It is not afraid of emotion; it captures and uses it so well.
Abey Mokgwatsane: Why should someone choose a career at Ogilvy&Mather?
Miles: They are not just joining an agency, they are joining a family.
Bridget Johnson: Do you think seductive technologies are replacing good, sound thinking?
Miles: Sometimes yes. It’s something that has to be fought against strongly.
Wayne: Do you think the Ogilvy network has stayed true to David Ogilvy’s ethos or has the agency had to adapt for today’s environment?
Miles: It has remained true in the fundamentals, but I also believe it has to adapt to the new world – and it does.