“We have no Public Relations department. I take the view that public relations should be handled by the manufacturer himself, or by specialist counsel,” – David Ogilvy, Confessions of an Advertising Man (1963).
Before undertaking my internship with Ogilvy Public Relations (PR), I thought it would be a good idea to find out more about the man behind the name. Naturally, I was shocked to read the above sentence, as Ogilvy PR is one of the worlds most recognised and respected communication brands, which made the lead up to my internship both daunting and exciting.
“I admire people with gentle manners who treat other people as human beings.”
Walking off Christie Street into Ogilvy House was quite an experience in its own right. The sheer size and scale was overwhelming, but the friendly smiles of the team at Howorth Communications and Social@Ogilvy quickly changed all that.
“I admire people who build up subordinates.”
Something that makes the Ogilvy PR Internship experience unique is its structure. One day I was creating media lists, drafting pitches and compiling research, and the next day I was involved in brainstorms, helped prepare events, and attended company-training sessions. Every single second of my day at Howorth was organised as I came to grips with using media monitoring platforms, assemble coverage reports and learnt about the importance of strategic messaging. Whilst this certainly challenged my time management skills, the tasks and the mentorship provided really helped me to further develop and apply my skills.
“I admire self-confident professionals, the craftsmen who do their jobs with superlative excellence. They always seem to respect the expertise of their colleagues.”
Howorth, like many of Ogilvy PR companies, makes a point of being creative in its work and takes pride in its office culture. There were a number of occasions where I observed staff pause to celebrate a co-workers success or mourn their departure, only to continue working tirelessly in order to not only meet, but also exceed, client expectations.
“I try to get the very best out of every man and woman in the agency.”
It is only now that I reflect and am writing about this experience that I realise just how lucky I am to have been given the opportunity to work at such a wonderful company and be surrounded by even more wonderful people. What I have taken from this internship is a huge amount of confidence in my ability, and a drive to continue learning as much as I can about being a good PR practitioner, with the hope that one day I will return.
I look at the first quote from this great man and I have a range of mixed feelings – although he lived to see Ogilvy PR come to life, it saddens me that David Ogilvy passed away not having seen the brilliant work of his team in the public relations space. However, as I flick through his book once more and look at my experience, I know that if he were still alive today he would be very, very proud.
By David Dunn