Australia suffers from TV obsession, divesting clients and a talent drain, says Ogilvy boss

Global Ogilvy CEO Miles Young

The worldwide CEO of Ogilvy has said that the dominance of TV in Australia has “artificially siloed digital”.

In an interview with Mumbrella in Cannes today, global boss Mile Young said that Australia’s “TV-led market” has made embracing new media difficult, while his agencies have suffered from multinational clients pulling spend locally.

“Our business in Australia is fundamentally strong with good management in place. We’ve been through a rough time – but that’s party because of the cyclical nature of the business,” he said. 

“But I’m confident about our agencies, and I know our management is embracing change. We have a very clear vision for reinventing Ogilvy Australia, with digital at the heart. We’re trying to digitise the agency across the board – which is not a common way of doing things in Australia.”

The dominance of, and “obsession with TV” has artificially siloed digital, he added. “But that’s an opportunity for agencies that excel in the discipline. You will see a fresh approach from us in the coming months.”

Another issue for Ogilvy is clients “divesting in Australia”, he added. “It’s sad to say it, but Australia is not a strategic priority for multinationals. We’ve seen clients withdraw funds and reallocate them to other parts of Asia.”

Young pointed to Ogilvy’s Share a Coke campaign, which has picked up a number of lions at Cannes this week, as a sign that the agency can take a lead in the market with digital-led campaigns.

Talent is another problem he identified. “Australia has the potential to be creatively excellent. But there are too many good creatives leaving the country,” he said.


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