Monday Mar 27

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The President of the United States of BBDO

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Issue #4 - Interviews

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robertsonHe's the man that rules over the BBDO business and its 287 satellite offices around the world.

O
ver the past three years, the network has been honored as Global Agency of the Year in Ad Age, Adweek and Campaign and at numerous international awards, including Network of the Year at Cannes for three years in succession.

Agency.Asia caught up with President & CEO Andrew Robertson and discussed the pivotal part that BBDOs outposts across the Asia-Pacific have played.

Agency.Asia: Congratulations on winning Network of the Year - again. Add to that the Asia-Pacific's equivalent with Network of the Year at Adfest and also best of show at the Asian Marketing Effectiveness Awards. It's been another phenomenal year for BBDO and obviously Asia again played a significant part.

Andrew Robertson: We are focused on The Work The Work The Work. It gets done job by job, client by client, agency by agency, day by day. The exciting thing about this years Cannes win, is that the Lions were won by 21 agencies with work for 35 different clients.

Clemenger BBDO in Melbourne won 8 all on its own, including two golds. Colenso BBDO won our first ever Integrated Lion. With Malaysia, Singapore, and others, the region was responsible for about 40 percent of our Lions. It's punching well above its weight.

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Agency.Asia: Can you put your finger on the BBDO difference - and if we were to ask David Lubars, chairman and chief creative officer of BBDO North America, would we get a different answer?

Andrew Robertson: We mean it. Everybody talks about the importance of creativity, but we mean it. It drives our decision making and our investments, and it shows in the ony place that matters : the work. There is no hiding place. Yes, you would get the same answer from David. More importantly you'd get it from any one of the 15000 people who the work every day in each of the 287 agencies that make up BBDO.


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Agency.Asia: We caught up when you were a speaker at the Asian Marketing Effectiveness awards - and discussed the fact that 'creatives' were in short supply there. There's no denying, however, that Cannes took a massive swing toward engagement marketing with 'Obama' taking the Titanium and Integrated and a handful of Grand Prix winners relying heavily on social-media initiatives. Outside the EFFIES and AME, this is the closest 'effectiveness' and 'creativity' have ever come at a major creative award. Some argue that this year's event also significantly blurred the line between advertising and PR.


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Andrew Robertson: The role of a festival like Cannes is to share, celebrate and judge the best of what is new in the world. There were interesting but less widely reported comments from the seminars about how TV won the election for Obama, and that clients like J and J, MacDonalds and P and G are big investors in TV , and will continue to be so.

I wish the "death of the thirty second commercial" debate would just die. It's complete nonsense. And frankly, incredibly boring.The challenge is not media specific. It's about IDEAS. Creating work that attracts and holds the attention of an audience while you give it a demonstration, some information, or an experience that changes the way they behave.


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BIOGRAPHY: Andrew first came to BBDO in the UK in 1995, joining Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO where he ultimately served as Chief Executive. In 2001, he moved to BBDO North America to serve as President and CEO. He began his advertising career at Ogilvy & Mather as a Media Planner. He switched to Account Management and was appointed to the Board of Ogilvy & Mather in 1986. In 1989, he joined J. Walter Thompson as a member of the Management Group and began to head the largest of their five business groups. In November 1990, Andrew was appointed Chief Executive of WCRS. Andrew has his degree in Economics from London University. He currently serves on the Boards of The Advertising Council, Autism Speaks, Special Olympics International and the Centre on Media and Child Health.


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