I'm not certain if this is life imitating art or vise versa, but those who follow Mad Men will know that in this week's episode, Don Draper took out a full page ad in the New York Times to position his fledgling agency as anti-tobacco - after losing the Lucky Strike account. Of course the 'phone immediately started ringing..
And here we have Lars Bastholm, Chief Creative Officer at Ogilvy, shown in this leaked letter, taking on his digital team. Did he do this to show the ad world that Ogilvy means business in the digital realm? Or was Mr Bastholm not paying attention to the work leaving the shop on his watch?
I just checked out the recent digital launches from Ogilvy New York. 6 websites in all. To be frank with everyone, it left me with a migraine and the beginnings of a depression. To be even more brutally frank, it’s simply not good enough.
I know that much of it is done for difficult clients, and I’m sure many great ideas died on the way from conception to reality. But when the level of quality across the board is downright disturbingly bad, then it is institutional and I have to attribute it to an internal lack of understanding of what makes for good digital work in 2010. This gives me cause for great concern.
What’s wrong? Where to begin…
1. From a design perspective, it might as well still be 2001, if you look at our work. With a few exceptions, it’s dull, boxy and uninspiring.
2. From a content perspective, it’s served up not as experiences, but mostly as brochure-ware. There’s little to nothing to engage a consumer in a fun and rewarding experience that they can share and talk about.
3. The one site that seemed like it was actually built in recent years didn’t work. After signing up through Facebook, I got an error message. Twice.
In order for us to be taken seriously as an integrated agency we HAVE to get a LOT better at digital. Both conceptually and design-wise. And we have to get better at selling in the good ideas that I know people are capable of. We have to start thinking less about building websites and more about using the digital sphere to reach consumers in new and interesting ways.
Look at this great collection of interesting work curated by Google Creative Labs: [Link]
Thank you, IBM team, for being included on slide 96 with the US Open Point Stream. You make us look good!
I’ve specifically not called out the teams/work that I’m talking about in this group email. But I’m sure you know who you are. I’ll be following up with the teams to hear why the work ended up being so dull.
Please let me know, if you have any great ideas for how to improve the work across the board. The status quo is not acceptable and will have to change. One way or another.
Lars Bastholm Chief Creative Officer Ogilvy New York