O&M London's Chief Strategy Officer, Kevin Chesters, told Campaign what our planners learned after a year of getting out there.


At Ogilvy, we launched "Get Out There" just over a year ago in response to the Brexit referendum vote. We decided to send our planenrs off to a series of eclectic locations to break out of the London bubble. Naturally for our industry there was the odd naysayer, but overall the reaction was incredibly positive (from both agency and client sides) so we knew we were onto something. But we didn’t realise at the time quite how useful it would actually be.

So far, among others, we have been to Boston (highest Brexit leave vote) to look at post-Brexit divisions. We’ve been to Eastbourne (oldest average population) to look into attitudes to ageing, and Bury (youngest average population) to probe youth slang. We went to Hereford (highest church attendance) to look into what it means to be a "Christian" country when less than 3% of people go to church, and we’ve been to Didcot (Britain’s most "average" town) to ask the question "what is normal?" All results are published on the "Get Out There" blog.

We never claimed this was some epoch-making initiative. It was always more of a principle: just get out from behind your desk. We just wanted to get all our planners back out there using some of those core (often unused) skills we all used to take for granted. Less bubble, more chat.

We've got a calendar of new hypotheses/locations to probe in 2018 including Barking, East Grinstead, New Maldon, Camborne, Nuneaton, Blackpool and Brighton. We’re looking at rising obesity in Blackburn (more take-away outlets than any other town). We want to look at the huge decline of teenage pregnancy so we’re visiting Nuneaton (highest teenage pregnancy rate). It’s not all serious stuff – we’ve currently got two planners at Fresher’s Week in Durham probing why so many alumni marry fellow Durham alumni to "study" modern dating practices!

The process is simple. Have a hypothesis, select an appropriate town, then get out there and probe it. The initiative has been a fantastic learning curve for our planners. Everyone who has taken part has come back raving about how much they enjoyed it and more importantly how useful it was for the day job.

To see the five key learnings, read the full article in Campaign here.