Unexpected Works: Marty O’Halloran on DDB’s Plan to Win

DDB Worldwide’s CEO talks to LBB’s Laura Swinton about launching a new brand position, gluing the global community together, and turning the network into a talent magnet.

When Marty O’Halloran was first offered the position of CEO of DDB Worldwide, he told John Wren that if he was going to take the job, he was going to make changes. And since starting in earnest in August, he’s lived by his word – and brought the 10,000-strong global network along with him.

This week, the DDB leadership has shared that change with the world. Hearteningly, the network has proven its belief in the power of creative advertising by making a creative campaign for itself. 

‘Unexpected Works’ launched with a billboard on a New Zealand sheep farm – a real world product demonstration, so to speak. Who would expect an ad agency to advertise itself there, of all places? And we’re talking about it. A brand mission film combines DDB’s creative heritage, going back to Bill Bernbach and skipping through its world-famous campaigns, with a future-forward vision. ‘Unexpected Works’ marries the offering of creative excellence and real effectiveness in a pithy bit of copywriting that sees DDB flexing its muscles. 

According to Marty, this campaign is the product of a carefully and collaboratively planned out business strategy. “It’s important to talk about the process, because it’s not just a whimsical thought to ‘do a little campaign’, it’s the end result of some rigorous planning, which we do so well for our clients, but we often don’t for ourselves,” he says.

Read more on LBB Online.

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