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Why Channeling Your Inner Weird Helps You Get Ahead At Work

By John Manley | Fast Company | April 26, 2013


Ogilvy & Mather exec John Manley on workplace success - “Let your freak flag fly.”

I have succeeded at five different ad agencies over the course of nearly two decades by sticking to one simple rule: Be freakin’ weird.

Weird, you question? Yes, weird. Weird is what fuels individuals in the most prolific agencies to remain the vanguards of new ideas. And despite the tendency to outfit agency halls with creative stimuli, channeling our “inner weirdo” is not a natural tendency simply instigated by odd-shaped chairs or brainstorming books. Weirdness–uncovering it, embracing it, practicing it–is one of the most difficult, yet most integral, components to success within the halls of any agency.

The Inside Story Behind McDonald's Big Game Giveaway

By Maureen Morrison | Ad Age | February 04, 2015

How the Chain Gave Away Every Product Advertised During the Super Bowl


On Sunday Feb. 1, teams from DDB Chicago, Golin, the Marketing Store, Twitter, Leo Burnett and McDonald's braved Chicago's fifth-worst snowstorm and gathered at Golin's office for the Super Bowl.

They weren't there to idly watch the game. This group convened to pull off something no one had ever tried before during the Super Bowl: give away every product advertised during the game, tweeting the offers out in real-time.

The effort was one of McDonald's biggest social media plays to date, and certainly its largest giveaway on social media ever. It was also part of the chain's brand refresh rolled out in early January that focuses on the "lovin'" in "I'm lovin' it."

Is your business male or female?

By Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz | Contact Reporter | Chicago Tribune | 9/4/2015


"It's interesting for brands to consider a gender reassignment," said John Manley, senior vice president and group strategy director at ad agency DDB.

While brand genders are not a new concept, Manley said they can be important as storytelling becomes a critical focus in marketing. With consumers encountering brands in all avenues of their lives and the power of traditional TV campaigns "a thing of the past," marketers strive to create strong brand stories that stick.

Russell Wilson Isn't Peyton Manning

And to the Companies He Endorses, That's Just Fine

American Family Insurance preps ad for Super Bowl Sunday


By Tim Nudd | Adweek | January 31, 2013

Peyton Manning is one of the top 10 commercials endorsers of all time in the sports world. But what about the other quarterback starting on Sunday?

Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson has only a few contracts, but one advertiser who had faith in him early on—American Family Insurance—is celebrating his trip to the Super Bowl with a grand new commercial from Ogilvy & Mather in Chicago that will during the game in 66 markets on Sunday.

Set in an empty stadium on Super Bowl morning, the spot was filmed months ago, just in case the Seahawks all the way. Well, here we are. Voiced by Harry Belafonte, the ad is an ode to Wilson's will and determination and reinforces American Family's position as the protector of dreams.

"We originally conceived the spot as an 'insurance policy' of sorts, should Russell and the Seahawks make the Super Bowl. Fortunately things turned out in our favor and we couldn't be happier for American Family," says Ogilvy's Ian Sohn.

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Happy Birthday, Breakfast Club

My memories of a chance encounter with John Hughes

The Breakfast Club turns 35 years young today. I was reminded of this remarkable birthday while listening to Bill Simmons’ latest Rewatchables podcast which covered the influential film in depth. The movie was of course made by John Hughes, the iconic filmmaker who helped define the culture of an era and the formative years of my generation. Hughes would have turned 70 three days from now — yet sadly he was taken from us far too soon. It has been said the famed director was a “recluse” primarily because he didn’t play the Hollywood game. Instead, he chose to settle down at the height of his career to raise his family in Lake Forest where I now reside with my family. I was fortunate to meet Mr. Hughes at the Empty Bottle on the west side of Chicago and beyond being engaging and warm, he shared some life advice I have never forgotten: “It takes a lot of work to have good luck.” Read More

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