Ogilvy India suffers from ‘Divine Discontent’

Brand Equity (The Economic Times, August 3, 2011) carries a cover story that caught my eye.

There is an NCD (National Creative Directors) Report Card and a quick summary of five advertising agencies and their ratings. I started reading it with a mild disinterest when I noticed something intriguing. In each case the Creative Directors of the Agency had a ‘Self Grade’ and an ‘Industry Grade’. If this was not interesting enough, I noticed the following.

Two agencies had their self assessment industry assessment matching.

In the case of the other three agencies the self assessments and industry assessment did not match. In one case the agency graded itself as B+ but the industry said B. In another case the agency assessed itself as A+ but the industry gave it a C grade.

The only case where the agency felt it was B+ but the industry graded it as A was Ogilvy.

“Where does ‘Divine Discontent’ come in this?” asked Prasna**

“David Ogilvy defined the corporate culture for the agency decades ago in a document called ‘What we believe and How we behave.’ In that he says ‘We have a habit of divine discontent with our performance. It is an antidote to smugness.’ . Oglivy rating itself B+ and industry rating it as A reminded me of this.”

“I know you worked there. Are you not making this forced connection? The reality could be something else.”

“Luckily you are not right Prasna. The article says ‘The team are among the harshest critics of their own work, giving themselves a B+.  Abhijit Avasthi (Ogilvy’s NCD) explains ‘I wish a whole lot of things moved even faster. We should have done as many landmark campaigns in the new age spaces as conventional advertising. That is why I won’t give ourselves an A’ ”

“Is this attitude peculiar to the advertising business or have you noticed it anywhere else too?”

“This is not peculiar to the advertising business. I know several creative artistes who ‘suffer from divine discontent’. Apple is a remarkable example of this attitude. I believe their range of new products and continuous innovations prove that.”

Is not Apple the most obvious example?”

“Take Google then. That is another one. Let me hasten to answer your next question ‘is it related to IT then.’ In every industry there must be examples. May be we should ask our readers to share examples of ‘Divine Discontent’ from other industries.”

Request: Please post your example of ‘Divine Discontent’ from any other industry, from wherever in the world, under ANY THOUGHTS? below.

**Prasna Rao is an unusual friend. He appears every time I start writing something. He is almost always there when I am writing my blog. He asks questions that are razor sharp and often makes me uncomfortable. He is relentless till I answer his questions in simple, clear terms. You might find that he is most of the times asking questions that you want to. Therefore he is on your side, while he is putting me in the dock. I call him my Uninvited Coach

Picture by the G™ available under a Creative Commons Attribution- licensed for commercial use.






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