By Suzanne Basra, Content & Internal Communications Manager at Ogilvy UK


Established to honor original published thinking on topics of relevance to marketers everywhere, the Atticus Awards are open exclusively to professionals working in WPP companies around the world. Rigorously scored, past Atticus judges have included independent marketing experts including John McArthur, Dean of Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration and Helen Alexander, CEO, The Economist Group.

Among the winners of the WPP Atticus Awards 2018 is Ogilvy’s EMEA MD for PR & Influence, Iain Bundred. His entry entitled ‘Riding the Wave of Electoral Volatility” with The&Partnership’s Benedict Pringle won in the Public Relations & Public Affairs category.

We caught up with Iain to find out more about the awards, his entry and his plan for the $5,000 prize money.

Congratulations on winning a WPP Atticus Award! Why did you enter the awards?

Given changes in the way voters are responding to marketing, myself and Benedict would often speak about what the 2017 election in the UK could mean. After many conversations between the two of us, we decided this was an interesting point of view to do something with.

Initially, we put our thinking together to create a presentation, which we delivered to WPP agencies at Sea Containers in December. The award entry was a natural follow on from this. As both Benedict and I operate within WPP agencies, we decided the topic could make for an interesting Atticus submission.

We already had the core thought and we had done the thinking upfront, so when it came to turning it into an award entry, the piece quickly materialized. We published a version of the presentation we’d given at Sea Containers on Benedict’s political marketing blog and used this as our Atticus entry, submitting in the nick of time.

Tell us a bit about your entry. 

Our award entry is the product of conversations between two geeks who love politics and marketing. We both have strong points of view on the changing political landscape and how marketing plays into this.

With the EU referendum in 2016 as our starting point, we looked at a collection of various elections from all over the world, from New Zealand to Germany and stopping by Mr Trump’s shock win. Focusing on the UK, we used the 2017 election as a microcosm to explore wider issues. Give it a read – I think it’s still just as relevant now, 12 months on, despite the chaotic political landscape we are experiencing where it feels like everything changes every day!

Why is this so relevant in today's climate?

Issues we saw from the elections in 2015 and 2017 and the way citizens are responding to elites is so relevant to marketing right now. I also personally think that politics and marketing learn from each other. As the people casting ballots are the same as those standing at the checkouts, business leaders can benefit from understanding the drivers of electoral volatility and learning lessons from the parties and groups that have successfully motivated the public in a time of relative instability. 

Any advice for those wanting to apply this year?

Don’t apply for the sake of applying. Benedict and I were already working on a presentation which we thought was relevant in relation to a powerful subject. Entering this thinking into the Atticus Awards was a bonus for us. I think the key is to always do the thinking first and, if you think you’ve got an insight or point of view that fits the Atticus criteria, go for it. It’s very simple.

Finally... what's your plan for the prize money?

Benedict and I have split the prize money down the middle. The plan for my share is probably an indication that I’m becoming increasingly middle aged - I’m planning to buy a new pair of Church’s shoes and go to Centre Parks with my family. Sigh.


You can read Iain & Benedict’s winning entry, ‘Riding the Wave of Electoral Volatility” here.

More about the Atticus Awards here.