Ogilvy UK gif

the showcase 2023

Consistency is golden: Ogilvy UK's 2023

The agency's work for Dove continued to garner praise, but there was much more to be proud of this year too

By creative salon

2023 was full of highlights for Ogilvy UK. It included a raft of awards for its purpose work with Dove, led by global ECD Dan Fisher, the second iteration of its Mayor of London campaign that challenges attitudes towards women, and a host of forward-facing promotions and hires. The shop also became the new global lead creative agency for Jameson and was also selected by Lloyds Banking Group to be its new one-to-one and digital marketing agency.

We caught up with CEO Fiona Gordon to explore Ogilvy’s 2023 and what is to follow in 2024.

Fiona Gordon, CEO at Ogilvy UK, on the agency's 2023

What three words would you use to describe 2023?

Fast, fun, fierce.

Talk us through some of your agency’s highlights this year?

From Matthew Waksman's amazing call to arms for strategists - which we loved so much brilliant spoken word poet Samuel King read it at our end of year Town Hall - to winning iconic brands such as Jameson and Lloyds.

We also held our bigger-than-ever behavioural science festival Nudgestock, won the Gold European Effie for the impact made in tackling misogyny for the Mayor of London, and had a shining night at the DMAs. It's been a real year of real progress.

This is all due to our fantastic people. I’m so proud of all our experts who have come together to make real impact for our clients.

What one thing are you proudest of this year?

Our brilliant behaviour science team this year have been vital in strategic unlocks to build brands and campaigns with real impact. They’ve worked with our advertising and PR teams to create fantastic, multi award-winning work including Philadelphia and Mayor of London.

And what’s been your biggest challenge?

I saw British Chambers of Commerce President Martha Lane Fox speak this year. She said today is the slowest day of the rest of your life – and there’s a lot of truth in that. Keeping up energy, knowledge, and curiosity as our world changes is vital, while also being able to step back and see what’s a fad and what’s a core trend. But that is what makes it exciting. Throw yourself in, learn, reverse mentor, and ask questions.

What are you most looking forward to in 2024?

With an election year, the Olympics and Euro's (Scotland is at the Euro's this time too!), there are lots of opportunities to bring people together and be culturally relevant.

And what one change would you most like to see in our industry next year?

It's been so good to see humour back in the work this Christmas and as the public have said, let's keep the quality of work that high all year.

In what will be another tough economic year, I hope we can all bring positivity and laughter into everyone's lives. And as we do it, help our clients to grow. It’s time to get the UK economy back to real growth.

Creativity has never been needed more, so as an industry let's bring it together to make 2024 shine.

Creative Salon on Ogilvy UK’s 2023

One of the main highlights of the year for Ogilvy UK was definitely the impressive number of awards it picked up at Cannes, especially for its work with Unilever brand Dove. The UK shop contributed 13 lions to the global network’s tally of 64. The ‘#TurnYourBack’ campaign won a Media Grand Prix in the ‘Corporate Purpose and Social Responsibility’ category as well as a Gold in ‘Media - Consumer Goods’. Launched in March, the #TurnYourBack campaign was created in response to the trending ‘Bold Glamour’ filter on social media, with an influencer-led effort to address the psychological impact on girls' and women’s confidence that invited women everywhere to fight the filter by turning their backs and not showing their faces.

Dove campaigns ‘Cost of Beauty’ and ‘Reverse Selfie’ also picked up Gold and Bronze Lions. ‘Cost of Beauty’ saw Dove respond to rising youth mental health issues linked to social media by chronicling a girl's struggle with a life-threatening eating disorder fueled by influencers promoting toxic beauty standards.

Ogilvy UK also won two Silver Lions - in Direct and Industry Craft categories - with its work for relationship charity Relate. The agency created a series of vegetable-themed condom packet designs to combat a rise in STIs among the over 65s. The illustrated condoms were showcased at garden centres in a bid to break down taboos and get people talking about later life sex.

Aside from awards, the launch of Ogilvy’s second Mayor of London campaign was also a big moment for the agency this year. In the summer, Sadiq Khan unveiled a bold new campaign to empower men and boys to say ‘Maaate’ to their mates, to challenge misogynistic male behaviour against women and girls nationwide. The fully-integrated campaign, which included collaborations with comedian Romesh Ranganathan and LADbible, combined creativity with behavioural science - a mixture of disciplines that the agency has placed a particular focus on this year. For the Mayor of London, Ogilvy UK Consulting’s Behavioural Science Practice spent time observing and interacting with men in male-dominated spaces to change the statistic that only 25 per cent of men address sexism and misogyny in social settings.

Ogilvy also created innovative campaigns for the likes of Philadelphia (‘You’ve Got a Friend in Philly'), Hellmann’s (‘Smart Jar’) and Vodafone (‘Feel the connection’), and developed a wide-reaching campaign for its recently won client Jameson, featuring a voiceover from Cillian Murphy.

A Christmas campaign for Vodafone ('Feel the connection') also focused on the importance of connecting to the people and things that matter most this festive season. As Ogilvy UK CSO Jo Arden said: "Christmas will be tight for many - it always is - but beyond helping our clients to surface the best value of their ranges, we have something else to add: festive fun and a bit of a flex for one of the UK's most important industries."

Campaigns for UN Women Unstereotype Alliance (‘Say Nothing, Change Nothing’), advertising and media support organisation Nabs (‘Throwaway Comments’) and autism charity Autistica ('Break the Cycle') further showcased Ogilvy’s ability to provide creative solutions for issues affecting wider society.

The promotion of Nicola Wood and Andy Forrest to executive creative directors further strengthened CCO Andre Laurentino's and chief ECD Jules Chalkley's creative bench.

Additionally, influence was of particular interest to Ogilvy UK this year, with the appointments of Imogen Coles to UK influence lead and John Harding-Easson to head of influence, EMEA, bolstering the department.

The agency launched an initiative entitled the 'AI Accountability Act', calling on advertising and PR agencies and social media platforms to mandate disclosure around the use of AI-generated influencers. Rahul Titus, global head of influence, admitted that while technological AI advances are exciting for the influencer marketing landscape, the industry has a responsibility to be ethical and transparent about what is real and what is not.

Creative Salon says: Ogilvy’s purpose-led campaigns for the likes of Dove, The Mayor of London and Philadelphia dominated the headlines this year but its important work in behavioural science and influence has also helped the agency stand out from the crowd and promises so much for the future.

The diverse, effective and unique nature of work produced this year is a testament to the drive of CEO Fiona Gordon, CSO Jo Arden and CCO André Laurentino, chief ECD Jules Chalkley and their teams. Full marks to Gordon for creating a real sense of unity and 'family' at the agency - a welcome change after all the buffeting of network instability that impacted the UK agency a few years ago. The venerable agency now manages to be both reassuringly familiar and yet fresh and energetic. All is now set for an exciting year ahead.


LinkedIn iconx

Your Privacy

We use cookies to give you the best online experience. Please let us know if you agree to all of these cookies.