Last March I got a call that I, Kiernan P. Schmitt, had been chosen as a WPP Fellow, and from across the Atlantic the British head of the fellowship nonchantly asked, "So where would you like to be placed?" A daunting question given that WPP has over 2000 offices in 107 countries. Still shocked at the thrill of getting the fellowship, I mumbled out something akin to, "Uh…um…I don’t know. You…probably know the company better than I do. Where do you think I belong? I’m, um, funny, I think…if that helps."
He responded without missing a beat, clearly having already decided where he would put me before even asking the question: "OgilvyEntertainment," he said, "you’ll like it there."
OgilvyEntertainment. I had heard of Ogilvy, and I had a vague notion of Entertainment. And I liked both of those things separately, so why not together? "Perfect!"
But right when I hung up the phone, I realized that I had no clue what I had just signed up for. Maybe OgilvyEntertainment’s job was to actually entertain Ogilvy employees: I was struck by a vague and disturbing mental picture of tap dancing in front of besuited ad executives and performing magic tricks with little animals, in hats. That wouldn’t be for me- at least not the hats. So to Google I ran, and where should my search take me but to this very blog. As I read more and more about the unit, their projects, and their clients, I knew that I had stumbled across a great opportunity. IBM, Cisco, Kodak, DuPont, Crystal Light…the list went on and on. By the time I got to Hellman’s, I was ready to head to the offices (and make some egg salad.)
After months of waiting I finally started last week, just after Labor Day. Walking to the new office building, I fiddled with my bow-tie anxiously, wanting to look my best. As I entered the lobby, I was surrounded by images of the man himself- David Ogilvy. Industry pioneer, creative genius, and, judging from the pictures, one hell of a fine dresser. I immediately regretted not wearing my blazer with leather elbow patches, or a kilt. "Oh well, a kilt is more of a second-week sort of outfit anyway," I told myself.
I awkwardly negotiating my way through the crowd of Ogilvy employees stampeding toward the brand new Ogilvy cafeteria, which prominently features international foods, everything from sushi to coq au vin. And we’re not talking about bastardized American versions of the global fare, either: the man who prepares the stromboli is a deadringer for a Mario Brother. Now that’s authenticity.
Ignoring my desire to feast on foreign pancake preparations, I headed onto the elevator and pressed the button for Floor 4. I was directed to my new desk, which was still fitted with the name plate of its last tenant, "Marguerite Colson." But surveying my new laptop, my top-of-the-line phone, and my commanding view of the "Lace Gentlemen’s Club" billboard out on 11th Avenue, I knew that I had found a new home. So if you ever stop by, come say hello. Ask for Maguerite.