President, Ogilvy Entertainment- In a world where content is king
and companies fiercely vie for a hefty slice of the consumer spending pie, there is one man who reigns supreme over the branded entertainment kingdom: Doug Scott, president of Ogilvy Entertainment, part of the global advertising juggernaut, Ogilvy & Mather. Beneath his boyish good looks and cutting wit beats the heart of a creative intellect whose philosophy was shaped by founder David Ogilvy himself. “Last year we produced a documentary film entitled David Ogilvy, the Original Mad Man for the BBC, during which I learned the analytical and strategic approach that he applied to all of his clients/campaigns,” explains Scott. “His book, Confessions of an Advertising Man, was an unexpected smash hit when he wrote it in 1963 and is still taught in business courses today. In it, Ogilvy laid out the rules for advertising like no one else before him, with an emphasis on centering every campaign around a big idea and respecting the consumer. He believed in vigorously researching his brands and finding what he called ‘the burr of singularity’—that one magic element of a product that differentiates it from everything else on the market. Finding that tone and that balance—and that burr—are still essential to everything we do today.”
For many advertising and marketing professionals, finding that burr can be like searching for a needle in a haystack; knowing what to do with it and how to sell it separates the titans from the minions. Scott believes that brands must “own” entertainment content, not simply “rent” it.
“When brands buy advertising, they are ‘renting’ the space around the content, trying to create context or some type of cultural relevance for the message,” explains the master of branding. “We believe that brands should develop their own original stories that directly reflect their positioning and message, thus allowing them to ‘own’ the content and use it in multiple ways. This approach also allows brands to be rewarded for the creation of successful entertainment, which in the past they funded through advertising but did not benefit from long-term.”
Scott creates ownership for his clients and entertainment for consumers via original content distributed through multiple channels in a highly engaging way. “Music plays an important role in the creation of content and offers brands a ubiquitous medium to reach target consumers,” he adds. “A good song is a good song, whether backed by a company or not. This past year, we developed an original song with Atlantic recording artist, Estelle, for our client Crystal Light. The song, called ‘Star,’ was launched on E! during their pre-Grammy coverage, was available as a free download on iTunes, and was played by Estelle on her concert tour.”
For Scott, the future of branded entertainment is filled with promise and opportunity. “We believe the future of branded entertainment will focus on the production of non-linear, interactive programming that consumers can engage with at multiple levels,” he says. “This may include product tags that allow the audience to buy the products featured in the program, story arcs that are defined by viewer choices, and products/brands that are integrated in real time based on consumer preferences and purchasing data.”
“I believe that brands have a natural opportunity to tell their stories through original entertainment and, when done properly, they will realize both economic and social benefits,” he concludes.