A better than free lunch
YOUR REPORT ON Robyn Putter (Tony Koenderman, 4 June) reminded me of my first meeting with this ad man many years ago. Just out of varsity and into my first week on the job at SmithKline Beecham Consumer Healthcare (now GSK), our marketing team attended a function with our advertising agency, at the time O&M.
I spotted a table where there was only one person seated, so I sat down and introduced myself. He introduced himself by his first name and we struck up a conversation about brands we had in common, such as Aquafresh and Lucozade. He proceeded to ask me what I did at SB and I explained I had recently joined the marketing team to work on the consumer brands portfolio.
I then asked him what he did at O&M. Our account manager, who had by then joined us at the table, blushfully said: “He’s our chairman!” I thanked her for that vital, although rather late, piece of information and turning back to Robyn, I said: “That’s interesting – so what exactly does that entail?”
I then had the most insightful half an hour discussion with the chairman about what he did at O&M – his role in the custodianship of brands and ensuring consistency of brand positioning in new and continually different ways.
That interaction served to guide my approach to brand management early in my career and entrench my passion for consumer marketing to this day, 15 years later. Similarly, I’m sure Putter’s impact on the Ogilvy team will be evident for many years to come.