Skip to main content

David Ogilvy's "teaching hospital" is flourishing in Detroit.


David Ogilvy once described his agency as a “teaching hospital” – a place where young advertising professionals simultaneously learned and practiced their craft.  As the legendary ad man said, “Great hospitals do two things.  They look after patients, and they teach young doctors.   We look after clients, and we teach young advertising people.” Having spent the first 15 years of my career at Ogilvy, I can attest to the benefits of growing up in a culture of learning.  

Team Detroit has picked up the baton that David Ogilvy passed to the next generation and are proud to continue his teaching hospital tradition.

We start our training with the greenest of the green – our quarterly internship program, aptly named The Greenhouse.  Each quarter we take approximately 15 paid interns to work throughout our agency – creative, brand integration, digital marketing, design, media, etc.  In addition to their day-to-day projects, our interns experience job shadowing, community service, personal branding workshops and recruiter sessions.  (Check out our newest crop in the Greenhouse.)

Our Hi-Potential program enables us to spotlight future leaders and give them the chance to grow and shine, including the opportunity to shape Team Detroit’s presence at NewCo.

But the heart of our teaching hospital is the training we provide to people at all levels throughout Team Detroit.  We invest in over 140 training programs covering topics as varied as emotional intelligence, digital technologies, leadership development, team building, presentation skills and so much more.  Many are in-person workshops; others use online and mobile technologies to allow people to learn at their own pace.

It’s long been true in advertising that the best professional development comes from the clients with whom we work.  Spend time working with blue chip marketers in complex, competitive categories and you will get better at your craft.

I’ve been lucky to count among my clients some of the world’s best-known companies, including Ford, American Express, The Coca-Cola Company, Sony, Dell, P&G, Mattel, United Airlines, Hilton, and Callaway Golf.  However, my time working in automotive leads me to believe that this category is probably the best training ground for young advertising professionals.

Young people working on an automotive account receive a master class in brand planning, including brand architecture, portfolio branding and global branding.  They learn ethnographic research, trend analysis, how to balance of rational vs. emotional persuasion. 

Working on a car brand offers exposure to a wide range of career-building skills, whether through debates on design strategies or the application of predictive analytics or how to orchestrate successful product launches.

These up and comers will become fluent in retail marketing.  This is a category in which brand and retail must work in harmony.  Learning how to match media and incentives with demand and competitive dynamics is a critical skill.

And since interactive marketing is increasingly central to successful automotive marketing, these digital natives can flourish, whether in analytics, online, mobile or social.  (In fact, well over half of Team Detroit is immersed in digital marketing.)

Several times a year I get to play hooky and serve as a guest lecturer at the University of California, Irvine and at Chapman University.  I always describe to these graduate and undergraduate students how much I love what I do for a living, because a career in advertising allows us to work at the intersection of business and almost everything imaginable.  Nowhere is that more true than in automotive.  And nowhere is that more passionately embraced than by the 1,500 people at Team Detroit.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What makes a premium brand premium?

I was thinking the other day about the DNA of premium brands . One thing is certain -- it's a relative idea. For example, Hyatt is not a premium brand if you're used to staying at a W or a Ritz Carlton. But if your vacations to date have been holed up in a Holiday Inn, then by all means a stay in a Hyatt is a premium experience. Another thing is certain -- a brand is considered premium only when we believe it is worth the price. And that's where we can dig deeper. Why are we willing to pay more for a product when there are others that provide the same service or function at a lesser price? I have spent a good part of my marketing career developing strategies and ideas for a wide range of  premium brands, including American Express, Sony, Callaway Golf, Hilton, Jaguar, Land Rover – even the Toyota Prius.  Through these experiences I have come to believe that a premium brand is built upon specific tangible and intangible attributes that give it a sense wort

Super game. Dull ads

As a passionate Giants fan it is safe to say that I had a good time yesterday. But as an advertising professional I felt a bit underwhelmed by the caliber of the advertising . Many were entertaining. But few possessed that intangible Super Bowl-ness...big, pop-cultural, fun. Even fewer seemed to have anything relevant to say about the brand, such as the Planters "uni-brow" spot. I loved the Bridgestone "screaming animals" spot, but it would have been a much better spot for the Saab featured in the spot than the tires the car rode upon. As for Bud, good spots, but I've seen the dog and horse thing before. Tide's talking stain was funny, but did it have Super Bowl-ness? My fav? The Coke "balloon float" spot. It was classic Coke (for Coke Classic). Big. Entertaining. Unexpected twist. Utterly charming. And Charlie Brown finally won something. Coke is about smiles. And that spot was just that. The Audi spot that I wrote about last week liv

Will this be your first recession rodeo?

In a previous article I referenced Mark Twain’s quote, “history doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.”    If true, then this is a poem about marketing in a recession by reflecting on lessons which I will attempt to freshen... Ok, no more poetry. I recently revisited the WikiBranding articles I wrote during the 2008-2009 meltdown that spotlighted best practices from a range of marketers.   It struck me that  those of us who guided businesses through The Great Recession can  share  lessons we learned with managers for whom this downturn might be their first.  (Bob Barrie, Stuart D’Rozario and I had just co-founded BD’M; learning how to navigate the recession was not a choice!)     Who decides if we’re in a recession?     Spoiler alert:  the consumer decides.   News stories about the economy lead us believe we’re in a recession – the “R-word” is having its moment.     Economists might say otherwise, based on their often used definition of a recession, i.e., two consecutive quarters