OMD Group Photo

Silver — OMD

OMD managed to find a silver lining in the dark cloud of recession by capturing silver honours in this year’s MAOY race.

It’s creativity, says president Lorraine Hughes, that drives better results for clients, something that OMD puts great emphasis on, especially in this age of masses of media choices. “No one’s waiting for the next ad,” she says. “You have to find a way to deliver a higher level of relevance and engagement to consumers to even get on their radar.”

And with so many different channels for people to turn to, Hughes admits it’s difficult to know exactly what will work and what won’t. Still, the goal is to get it right, and proof positive that OMD’s getting it right is laid out on the next three pages: McDonald’s “Let’s Start Fresh” spring coffee promo, Doritos’ user-generated “Guru” campaign and a nationwide Rock Band 2 tournament on behalf of Pepsi’s Amp energy drink.

Other accolades include a Grand Prix at The Internationalist magazine’s Awards for Innovation in Media for Frito Lay Canada’s 2008 “Doritos Collisions” campaign, which integrated online, television, outdoor and mobile advertising to tell the story of two flavours in a single bag, represented by a battle for dominance between hot wing cowboys and blue cheese Parisians.

OMD has three elements it credits as helping manage both creativity and efficiency in its work. The first is its people. “Creativity comes from people who are of that mind,” says Hughes. “You have to have the right people who embrace that and who actually like it and will pursue that for their clients.”

The agency emphasizes training via an internal calendar of regular initiatives like lunch and learns. And it’s in that spirit that OMD prefers to advance people from within the organization. Two recent notable examples are Kim Dougherty, formerly associate director of broadcast, who was promoted to director of national broadcast investments to replace Sherry O’Neil, and Gilad Coppersmith, who took over the role of director of digital and emerging media, adding it to his managing director title.

Second and third are Ignition, a consumer insights group within the OMD fold whose mandate it is to socialize the quest for the “big idea” by bringing qualitative consumer insights to the table, and finally Checkmate, an internal proprietary process. “It’s become a way of thinking,” says Hughes. “It forces you to think in unconventional ways about the best way to motivate consumers to accomplish our clients’ objectives in their markets.”

Being a triple threat helped the agency land the Rogers media account in March. “They had a really fresh and creative perspective on our business,” says Shelagh Stoneham, VP brand and marketing at Rogers. “What particularly got us excited about them was the Checkmate process, which really gave us a new perspective on how media could deliver in new and innovative ways to both reach our consumer and deliver business results.”

The agency’s achievements at home reflect its success globally. OMD was named Adweek’s Global Media Agency of the Year for 2008, Campaign magazine’s 2008 Media Network of the Year and “Most Creative Media Agency in the World,” by The Gunn Report for Media for the fourth consecutive year.

“We have been fortunate to be very well acknowledged in the industry for creativity, and that’s very satisfying for us,” says Hughes.

The Facts

Locations: Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal

Staff: 210

New hires: No major hires at senior level

New business: Universal Music, Manulife Financial Corporation, Rogers Communication, Bayer (Diabetes Care), Eli Lilly (Cymbalta)