Though people often say “it’s not personal, it’s business,” it was always personal for Shelly Lazarus when Ogilvy & Mather lost an account.
“What I learned was you had to have the resilience to bounce back and to say we are really good at what we do, we add value, we make a difference, and then go on the next day to going after new clients or, even more importantly, redoubling your efforts against the clients you had,” says Lazarus, who’s now chairman emeritus at the agency, in an interview with Beet.TV. She was its CEO and chairman from 1996 to 2008.
She adds: “There is nothing more satisfying than when the phone rings and it’s your old client who basically says, ‘Can we go back now?’”
Lazarus joined Ogilvy & Mather in 1971 after working at Clairol as an assistant product manager for two years. She had intended to spend only two years in the agency business but never left Ogilvy.
She hearkens back to the beginning of her career, when big decisions centered around placements for TV and print ads and whether to put a campaign in Good Housekeeping or Ladies Home Journal, for example. Now, in the digital era, strategy has become much more nuanced.
“So long as you’re comfortable with ambiguity and complexity, you’re going to have a ball at this time in our business,” she says.
This is segment is part of Beet.TV’s “Media Revolutionaries,” a 50-part series of interviews with key innovators and leaders in the media, technology and advertising industries, sponsored by Xaxis and Microsoft. Xaxis is a unit of WPP.
Lazarus was interviewed for Beet.TV by David J. Moore, Chairman of Xaxis and President of WPP Digital.