Rory Sutherland, visiting professor

Today, we were delighted to welcome Rory Sutherland on his annual visit to the Woodlane campus. On top of his day job as Vice Chairman of Ogilvy One and the Ogilvy Group in the UK, Rory is also our Visiting Professor. Many will have followed his enlightening and amusing talks on TED, but to have him come down here to pass on his latest thinking in person is obviously a real treat.

After a quick flight from Gatwick to Newquay and a lunch in the canteen, Rory came into our Abbott studio and gave the rapt MA Creative Advertising students an off-the-cuff, highly entertaining talk for two and a half hours. One of his many themes was that advertising (and, in particular, throwing money at a marketing problem) isn’t always the answer. Sometimes tiny changes for a brand can have huge effects and we should never be afraid of suggesting these things to clients.

After a swift cup of coffee, Rory then moved straight down to the main Lecture Theatre, where 150+ students and staff from the School of Communication Design here were privy to his main lecture. Another highly entertaining, two-hour talk on his subject of Behavioural Economics, in which he made the case for media and creative people to be given a chance to think of solutions to business problems before the straight-line thinking finance and product engineering people do. He gave many examples of big commercial problems which could be solved by comparatively cheap, lateral ideas. Thought-provoking stuff.

So big thanks to Rory, as ever, for another fantastic and illuminating session that got everyone buzzing afterwards.

Rory Sutherland




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