The corporate history of Ogilvy PR dates to September 3, 1980, when the advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather, founded by advertising legend David Ogilvy created its subsidiary Ogilvy & Mather Public Relations Inc. (O&MPR).
The following year, a Washington, DC, office was opened under the name of Ogilvy & Mather Public Affairs. Current Ogilvy PR chairman Marcia Silverman is one of the public affairs agency’s four original employees.
O&MPR experienced steady growth throughout the 1980s, opening a London office in 1982; offices in Mumbai and New Delhi, India, and Indonesia in 1985; and a Taiwan office in 1986. In 1986, O&MPR, with worldwide revenues of $31.7 million, was ranked third among all PR firms.
The 1980s also saw two acquisitions. In 1983, O&M Worldwide acquired Dudley-Anderson-Yutzy Public Relations, Inc. (D-A-Y), the world’s oldest continuously operating PR firm. In 1986, O&M Worldwide acquired the independent public relations firm of Adams & Rinehart, whose 80 employees specialized in issues related to corporate mergers and acquisitions.
Later that year, O&M Worldwide formally linked its PR operations, creating the Ogilvy & Mather Public Relations Group, consisting of Adams & Rinehart, D-A-Y and O&M Public Affairs, whose Washington, DC staff had now grown to 25 employees.
In 1989, D-A-Y was formally folded into O&MPR. Also in 1989, the United Kingdom-based holding company, The WPP Group, acquired the Ogilvy companies, including the O&MPR Group, which was subsequently renamed the (Ogilvy PR Group) Ogilvy Public Relations Group.
That same year, Jody Powell, former press secretary to US President Jimmy Carter, was named head of the Washington, DC, public affairs office, which was renamed Powell, Adams and Rinehart.
By 1990, Ogilvy PR Group, with $62 million in revenues and 759 employees, was the fourth largest company in the industry.
In 1991, Jody Powell left the Washington, DC office to open a rival public affairs firm with Sheila Tate, former press secretary to First Lady Nancy Reagan.
Then 10-year Ogilvy PR Group veteran Marcia Silverman took over as head of the Washington, DC office, and the name was changed to Ogilvy, Adams & Rinehart. O&MPR; Ogilvy, Adams & Rinehart; and Adams & Rinehart were consolidated into a single company doing business as Ogilvy, Adams & Rinehart.
The agency opened its first offices in China in 1995, in Shanghai and Beijing.
In 1998, Ogilvy, Adams & Rinehart was renamed Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide (Ogilvy PR). The Ogilvy & Mather PR Asia/Pacific network of 17 offices also came under the Ogilvy PR umbrella.
The expanded Ogilvy PR opened offices in Taiwan (Republic of China); in Korea; in Bangalore and Chennai, India; and in the United States in Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, Dallas and Boston. The year 1998 also brought the acquisition of the high-tech PR firm Alexander Communications, which was renamed Alexander Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide.
In 1999, David Ogilvy, founder of the Ogilvy companies, died at the age of 88.
That year, Ogilvy PR acquired Feinstein Kean Healthcare (FKH), the largest U.S. independent biotechnology and health care specialist. The agency also acquired B/W/R, the corporate and entertainment specialist PR firm, as well as Sector Communications and Magellan Medical Communications. The latter two UK companies were rolled into Ogilvy PR.
By 1999, Ogilvy PR was ranked ninth worldwide, with revenues of $125 million and a 1,100-member staff.
In 2000, Ogilvy PR expanded in Asia with the opening of offices in Hyderabad, India, Colombo and Sri Lanka. The Prague, Czech Republic, company known as O&MFocus came under the Ogilvy PR name.
In 2001, the Sacramento, California, firm of Deen + Black, with offices in San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles, was acquired by Ogilvy PR, and Ogilvy PR opened its first office in Africa in Nairobi, Kenya. In the Asia/Pacific region, a joint venture with The Singleton Group created the biggest public relations operation in Australia, consisting of five firms.
In 2002, Marcia Silverman was named CEO of Ogilvy PR. Silverman’s prior position, as president of the Americas, was filled by Paul Hicks, who had headed the New York office. That year, the agency also acquired H-Line, creating China’s largest PR enterprise.
In 2005, the agency acquired The Federalist Group, a premier government affairs firm in Washington, DC. The company was subsequently renamed Ogilvy Government Relations. That same year, a comprehensive digital marketing team, 360° Digital Influence, is launched in the Washington, DC office. Ogilvy PR also appointed Christopher Graves as president and CEO of Ogilvy PR/Asia Pacific.
In 2006, Marcia Silverman, CEO of Ogilvy PR, joined the Ogilvy & Mather India Board. Martin Liptrot was appointed as regional CEO for Europe, Africa and the Middle East (EAME).
In 2007, Ogilvy PR hosted its first ever “Bring Your Parents To Work Day”.
In addition, Ogilvy PR expanded 360° Digital Influence to offer its services globally and provide clients worldwide with digital communications solutions aligned with the emergence of social media.
In 2008, Ogilvy PR made its groundbreaking 360° Digital Influence offering an official practice.
That same year, the agency opened new offices in Buenos Aires, Kolkata, Karachi, Milan and Tunis.
The following year, Ogilvy 360° Digital Influence (DI) launched Insider Circle, a Influencer Relationship Management (IRM) influencer activation platform allowing brands to build and scale relationships with key brand influencers.
In addition, Ogilvy 360° Digital Influence (DI) launched a new business objective-driven model that provides a measurement framework for social media effectiveness—Conversation Impact.
Developed in 2009 by Ogilvy PR's 360° Digital Influence (DI) team in partnership with Netvibes, The Daily Influence (www.thedailyinfluence.com) serves as an RSS reader and widget platform delivering Social Media, Word of Mouth, Public Relations and Marketing news and information updates into a single interface.
In 2009, Ogilvy PR expanded with new offices in Denmark, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
On January 2010, Christopher Graves was named Global CEO of Ogilvy PR. Grave's prior position of President and Regional CEO of Ogilvy PR/Asia Pacific was filled by Steve Dahllof, who previously served as Managing Director of Ogilvy PR's Global Strategy+Planning Group.
1980: Ogilvy PR forerunner Adams & Rinehart supports British Petroleum’s acquisition of Standard Oil.
1987: America Responds to AIDS, the largest US national public awareness campaign is created for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2006, the industry publication PRWeek would cite the effort as one of the most influential campaigns in history.
1988: The US Government’s National AIDS Mailing, a direct prevention and education message from Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, is created. It is the second largest mailing in history by the federal government (second only to tax forms).
1996: The Ford Taurus is launched in China, one of the company’s largest mass-market campaigns to date.
1996: President Clinton’s AmeriCorps campaign is launched.
1999: On behalf of the European Union, the first environmental public awareness campaign is created from 13 countries that were formerly part of the Soviet Union.
2000: Four WPP companies, five Ogilvy PR practices and two outside niche firms work together to launch Amoco, ARCO, BP Petroleum and Castrol’s new global brand, BP p.l.c.
2001: CDC’s Screen for Life campaign is launched via TV public service announcements, print materials and nationwide news coverage. In subsequent years, the campaign would feature Katie Couric and Diane Keaton.
2002: The Heart Truth campaign, which informs women that their #1 disease threat is heart disease, is created for the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health. The Red Dress icon created for the campaign was embraced by fashion designers who have featured Red Dress Collections at New York’s spring Fashion Week since 2003. The campaign would also win Best in Show at the 2004 SABRE Awards.
2007: Successfully launched BP’s new Helios House in Los Angeles, the most environmentally advanced gas station BP has ever built. The station features sustainable water, light and landscaping systems, including a green roof, solar panels and recycled materials. Helios House was designed to explore ways to make the gas station greener and the consumer experience better. This 360° Digital Influence endeavor involved Ogilvy PR, OgilvyOne, Ogilvy, and Ogilvy/BIG.
1999: Most Improved Major Agency, Inside PR
2001: Named Agency of the Year by both PRWeek and The Holmes Report
2002: Network of the Year award in the Asia/Pacific region from PRWeek
2005: Honors in 12 of 22 categories in PR Week Awards for Asia Pacific
2006: Honored with three Cause Marketing Halo Awards, making it the first agency to receive this recognition in multiple categories in the Cause Marketing Forum’s four-year history
2007: Honored with two PR News Platinum PR Awards for Online Communications and Public Service Announcement
2008: Named Large Agency of the Year by The Holmes Report
2008: Honored as PR Consultancy of the Year in the Asia Pacific PR Awards
2008: Named Asia Pacific Consultancy of the Year by The Holmes Report
2009: Named Asia Pacific Network of the Year in the Asia Pacific PR Awards
2009: Honored as Large Agency of the Year in PRNews' Platinum PR Awards
2009: Marcia Silverman honored as PR Professional of the Year