The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Motivation: Stalin Style …
February 19, 2009, 6:54 am
Filed under: Comment

[From Media Magazine]

Chairman of Ogilvy & Mather Greater China TB Song has blasted his company as “lazy”, “arrogant” and “out of touch” in a damning document circulated throughout the agency and obtained by Media.

In the letter, Song lays out the causes of the team’s “collective failure” which includes Ogilvy China’s inability to meet its fiscal targets.

“We must be also aware that we have already become too lazy and proud and have been resting on our laurels and enjoying our good reputation,” the letter reads.

“We considered ourselves infallible and even arrogantly believed that we could engage consumers without actually understanding them. This has destroyed the Ogilvy brand and David Ogilvy’s vision: ‘We sell or else!’”

According to Song, the letter was circulated to MOTIVATE THE AGENCY’S STAFF TO DO BETTER IN 2009!


I bet everyone in the O&M Beijing office is over-the-moon they’re getting blamed for the agencies shit performance when the majority of them earn approx 1% of what the Chairman probably spends on lunch each day!

And I find it especially amusing he calls his staff ‘lazy’, ‘arrogant’ and ‘out of touch’ when as a network, they embody and celebrate all those characteristics on an almost daily basis.

Saying that, I respect Ogilvy – especially in Asia where they’re an amazing machine – but it cannot be denied that they’ve been going abit mental recently …

First they have a regional HR Director [now ex!] who gets bored when colleagues come and see him because they’re upset, then they have an office that does all they can to destroy the good name of their founder and now they have a Chairman who likes to blamestorm his own shortcomings.

Maybe they think this is the way to get to Sorrell’s dinner table, but everybody knows the secret is to just be 2 feet 3” tall.

Before I go, I found this video [thanks Ang!] of a mate of mine, Calvin …

I always thought he was the regional creative director of Publicis, but having seen this, it would seem he really has been working undercover as Ogilvy China’s ‘enforcer’.

15 Comments so far
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this is more like it.

funny how management of corporate companies are happy to share the fucking blame but keep all the praise and bonuses to themselves? saying that its perfectly fucking acceptable to follow that course of action in smaller companies 🙂

i hope the fuckers at ogilvy revolt and hang the condencending ceo twat from his high priced fucking pedestal. twat

and what the fuck is calvin doing? i dont mean the flogging, that seems perfectly acceptable but being at publicis? when did he leave fallon and was he on fucking medication at the time?

Comment by andy@cynic

sadly, i think there are no people, having the guts to revolt, left. this letter was preparing people for lay-off’s methinks. management by fear. works for non-adland very well already. and if in doubt about who is responsible for you being fired, it s not the economic situation or mis-management. it s yourself, because you were having no clue what you were doing. you just deserve being fired.

Comment by peggy

Still wondering about the watermelon.

Comment by John Dodds

did you watch dirty dancing lately, sir dodds? 🙂

Comment by peggy

Campbell…the Harry Callahan of Adland?

This makes me think of an old Dirty Harry trailer from the 70’s…”You don’t assign Harry Callahan to a murder cases, you just turn him loose.”

This is Campbell unleashed.

Comment by fredrik sarnblad

so the question peggy, is – would you rather be fired because of the economy – which is beyond your control – or fired because you were shit at your job – which is within your control. One you can absolve yourself from blame but feel powerless, the other you are totally responsible but get to be filled with self recrimination and loathing. it reminds me of the question – if you were up to your neck in a swimming pool full of diarrhea and someone throws a bucket of sick at you – do you duck?
to be fair – if you read the rest of the ogilvy letter, he does dish out some praise and point some of the blame at the senior team – back in Blighty it would just be described as a well needed kick up the bum, but then again we’ve got thick skins (i think we have thatcher to thank for that)- I imagine the effect of public dressing down on the Asian psyche would be more drastic. personally any feedback would be good – I feel like I live in a bubble

Comment by Mr McG

Excellent comment there Freddie, I shall never be able to look at Robert the same way again.

Consistency of delivery is one of the traits clients regard as very important in their agency partner relationships but it seems that Ogilvy China’s issues stem from bad decisions by their senior members of management than anything involving the “workers”.

Given too few agencies let their young and enthusiastic loose on clients business or new business pitches, it seems unfair they are being bestowed with any of the blame for Ogilvy’s underperformance.

Fear may be an effective means to control but in my experience it is a very ineffective means to encouraging loyalty, free thinking and energy.

I accept I am unaware of the issues leading up to the CEO making this decision, but I am finding it very difficult to dream up any scenario where this cannot be viewed as anything other than immature management.

Comment by Lee Hill

Before anyone starts aasking if TB Song is a midget and is simply acting out the “small man disease” cliche, I am vertically challenged AND I DON’T ACT LIKE A FUCKING PRICK, ALRIGHT?

Comment by Bazza

Collective blamestorms indicate a sinking ship, because,as Lee suggests, collective performance is the responsibility of senior management and this chairman is in denial.

By the way, Lee if Dirty Robert were to ask you if you feel lucky, what would be your repsonse?

Comment by John Dodds

Crazy. He says they don’t understand the consumer, but clearly he has no understanding of workers.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Lee has been working with Rob since the early 90’s so I don’t think “lucky” would be the first word that comes to his mind. 🙂

Comment by Bazza

hey doddsy, not knowing lee from a bar of soap, surely it would be, ‘well, do ya? punk?’

scary that ‘we have become lazy and proud’ are still words that ignite fear into the heart of the chinese. i’m sure they featured heavily in chairman m’s speeches towards a cultural revolution.

Comment by lauren

youre so fucking right baz. fuck knows what lee did in a past life but it must of been pretty shit to be stuck with campbell for almost 20 fucking years. 20 years with one fucking client? campbell must have some life destroying photos on him but i dont mind because hes keeping me in sausage sandwiches

Comment by andy@cynic

i think that being good or bad at your job is somewhat out of control in a big corporation (adland or not) anyway mr mcg. you follow rules and processes you usually not created yourself. people above you made them to control what and how you do it. i m not saying that rules and processes are bad in general. but it certainly can be too much and too tight. after some time, you become obedient to all that trying not to do anything wrong and function within the framework… so who is responsible?
to be honest, i had read the email before. what i found interesting is that the pr team is praised for exceeding their targets. i was just wondering what their targets in 2008 had been. anyway… for that swimming pool issue. (btw, i haven t heard that question before). point is not getting in there in the first place! i doubt i would duck. doesn t really matter anymore if you are already in there what else is thrown at you.

Comment by peggy

@lauren – as long as he’s not saying play misty for me, I’ll be able to sleep.

Comment by John Dodds

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